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Lecture/Presentation/Talk

Speaking my Soul: Race, Life and Language

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Professor John R. Rickford, in conversation with Professor Vaughn Rasberry, discusses his most recent book, Speaking My Soul:  Race, Life and Language, which tells of his fascinating life from his early years as the youngest of ten children in Guyana to his status as Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Stanford, of the transformation of his identity from colored or mixed race in Guyana to black in the USA, and of his work championing Black Talk and its speakers. This is an inspiring story of the personal and professional growth of a black scholar, from his life as an immigrant to the USA to a world-renowned expert who has made a leading contribution to the study of African American life, history, language and culture.

First 5 students to sign up and attend the talk receive a free copy of Prof. Rickford's book!

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You're also welcome to join via Zoom.

John R. Rickford is the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities (emeritus) at Stanford University, and former Director of the program in African and African American Studies.  He began teaching at Stanford in 1980 and retired in 2019. He received his BA with highest honors in Sociolinguistics from the U. of California, Santa Cruz in 1971, and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the U. of Pennsylvania in 1979. He won a Dean's Award for distinguished teaching in 1984 and a Bing Fellowship for excellence in teaching in 1992.The primary focus of his research and teaching is sociolinguistics, the relation between linguistic variation and change and social structure. He is especially interested in the relation between language and ethnicity, social class and style, language variation and change, pidgin and creole languages, African American Vernacular English, and the applications of linguistics to educational and criminal justice problems.  A former president of the Linguistic Society of America, he has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the British Academy.  See his website, www.johnrickford.com for more information.

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