MLC Faculty

Deborah Tannen, University Professor

DeborahDeborah Tannen has written or edited 21 books and well over 100 articles for both academic and general readers. Among her books, Talking Voices explores the relationship between everyday conversation and the language of literature. Conversational Style presents a theory and method for analyzing conversation while examining New York vs. California conversational style. You Just Don’t Understand, which brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness, was on The New York Times Best Seller list for nearly four years and has been translated into 30 languages. Talking from 9 to 5, a New York Times business best seller, concerns women and men at work, while The Argument Culture, which won a Common Ground Book Award, examines public discourse. You’re Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation was also a New York Times best seller. Her most recent book, You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! examines communication among sisters. Other books and articles address such topics as spoken and written language; doctor-patient communication; modern Greek discourse; and family communication. Tannen appears frequently on television and radio news and information shows, and lectures frequently to business and professional as well as academic audiences. More information is available at her website.

Deborah Schiffrin, Professor EmeritaDeborah Schiffrin

Deborah Schiffrin has written and edited several books on discourse analysis, narrative, identity and pragmatics. Discourse Markers showed how small words and phrases (such as and, well, I mean and y’know) play central roles in our everyday communication. Approaches to Discourse is used worldwide as an introduction to this multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary area. Schiffrin is completing a 2nd edition of this volume, preparing a general introduction to discourse analysis (Language, text and talk) and co-editing a volume on “Building Bridges through Narratives.” Her newest book in print, In Other Words (2006), analyzes how we repair, or avoid, mistakes while talking and how we retell stories. A co-edited volume on Discourse and Identity explores how language and communication provide symbolic resources for conveying and contesting a variety of social and personal identities. The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, co-edited by Schiffrin, Tannen and Hamilton, is a volume with wide circulation not only as a resource for scholars, but as a preeminent reference book. Her current research work focuses on language and identity “in place” and the analysis of oral histories and life stories. Schiffrin has also consulted for lawyers on questions of word meaning and use, and held workshops on speech acts in the workplace. More information is available at her website.
*Dr. Schiffrin is no longer advising students.

Heidi E. Hamilton, ProfessorHeidi2

Heidi E. Hamilton is an expert on the interrelationships between language and a variety of health care issues and contexts. Her early work on Alzheimer’s disease, Conversations with an Alzheimer’s Patient, is the first work in the area of language and Alzheimer’s disease to depart from the clinical paradigm and dependence on experimentally-elicited data. Glimmers, a general interest book on these issues, was published in 2003. Hamilton has also collaborated with speech and language pathologists in the Defense Head Injury Project at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; with physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators in an investigation of inter-professional communication issues within Georgetown University Medical Center; with Georgetown Medical Center’s genetic counselors; and with the Interdisciplinary Team on Health Literacy at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. To promote discussions on real-world applications of linguistics, she co-edited Language, Linguistics, and the Professions: Education, Journalism, Law, Medicine, and Technology in 2002. Her latest books include the forthcoming Doing Discourse Analysis across Disciplines and the co-authored Genetic Counseling as Discourse. Hamilton has served since 1999 as a linguistics consultant on more than 50 studies on the relationship between physician-patient communication and health and serves regularly as advisor to health professional recipients of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is on the board of editors of the journal Communication & Medicine. Recent awards include Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Linguistics in Innsbruck, Austria and DAAD Gastdozentin in Berlin, Germany. For the past thirty-plus summers, she has taught German and carried out research at the K-12 language and cultural immersion programs of Concordia Language Villages in northern Minnesota, where she is Senior Researcher. More information is available at her website.

Natalie Schilling, Associate ProfessorNatalie

Natalie Schilling has written extensively on language and dialect variation in the U.S., especially the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions. She is the co-author of the authoritative American English: Dialects and Variation, co-editor of the scholarly reference volume Handbook of Language Variation and Change, co-author of a general interest book on the dialect of Ocracoke North Carolina, Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks, and author and co-author of numerous articles in leading sociolinguistics and linguistics journals, including Language, Language Variation and Change, Language in Society, and the Journal of Sociolinguistics. Her areas of research expertise include regional, ethnic, and stylistic variation, as well as endangered and dying languages and language varieties. She has been involved in educational outreach programs on dialect variation ranging from courses for high school students and teachers, video documentaries, and museum exhibits. She also teaches and works with law enforcement professionals in the area of forensic linguistics. More information available here.

Jennifer Nycz, Assistant ProfessorPicture 1

Jennifer Nycz’s research focus is phonological variation. She is equally interested in the quantitative analysis of variation in its social context and modeling such variation in phonological theory, and has worked on a variety of projects spanning sociolinguistics, phonology, and phonetics. She is particularly interested in dialect change over the lifespan, individual variation in phonetic accommodation and style-shifting, and statistical methods in sociophonetic research. Jen obtained her Ph.D. from New York University and has previously held positions at Haskins Laboratories, the University of York (UK), and Reed College. Find out more on her website.

Mark Sicoli, Assistant Professor Sicoli-SIZED

Mark Sicoli is a specialist in Native American languages, focusing primarily on Oto-Manguean languages of Mesoamerica with additional work in Na-Dene. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Michigan, and he previously held positions as faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and as postdoctoral researcher in the Language and Cognition Group of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. His research is centered in approaches to language, culture and cognition that include ethnographic and documentary linguistics, historical and contact linguistics, and interactional sociolinguistics analyzing prosody and multimodal interaction in cross-cultural perspective.

Anastasia Nylund, Assistant Teaching Professor Anastasia

Anastasia Nylund uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate the how speakers use socially meaningful linguistic features to navigate issues of race, place, and identity in interaction. Her recent work examines the links between phonological variation, constructed dialogue and stancetaking in discourse about social change in Washington, DC. As the Director of the MA in Language and Communication, she teaches courses in sociolinguistics and does outreach work to promote applications of linguistics across professional fields. She is the co-editor (with Deborah Schiffrin and Anna De Fina) of Telling Stories: Language, Narrative, and Social Life (2009, Georgetown University Press).

Thanks to the program’s flexibility, MLC-ers have the opportunity to take courses from instructors throughout the department and with a variety of specialties. For more on the linguistics faculty at Georgetown, click here.