About the NCLLP

Fieldwork on Ocracoke

Since its inception, the staff of the NCLLP has conducted more than 1500 sociolinguistic interviews with residents of North Carolina and other regions connected to language variation in the Old North State. Interviews cover a wide range of topics, from history and remembrances to current livelihood and lifestyle changes. Archives of interviews, as well as copies of recorded interviews for most Southern States conducted by the fieldworkers for the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) from 1965-1970, are also available at the Center.

The staff of the NCLLP has engaged in a number of community-based sociolinguistic research projects that focus on regional, social, and ethnic varieties of Southern English. These include studies of Outer Banks English; African American English in remotely located communities in Southern Appalachia, the Coastal Plain, and Outer Banks; tri-ethnic situations involving Native-Americans, European Americans, and African Americans in several regions within North Carolina; and studies of the emerging varieties of English spoken by Latinos in rural and metropolitan areas.

Outside in Princeville

In addition to its sociolinguistic research, the NCLLP engages in a full array of public outreach programs related to language diversity. These activities have led to the production of a number of TV documentaries that range from a general profile of language variation throughout North Carolina (Voices of North Carolina 2005) to documentaries on particular dialects such as Outer Bank English (The Ocracoke Brogue 1996; The Hoi Toider Brogue 2005), Southern Highland speech in Western North Carolina (Mountain Talk 2004), and Lumbee English (Indian by Birth: The Lumbee Dialect 2001). NCLLP has further produced a number of CD collections of local narratives and published trade books on particular varieties of English such as Lumbee English and Outer Banks English. It has also constructed exhibits on dialects at local museum and cultural centers in partnership with local communities. An experimental dialect awareness curriculum for middle school students has been developed throughout the state, and staff members routinely give presentations and conduct workshops on language diversity in the public schools and at local civic organizations, particularly preservation and historical societies.