How do Washingtonians talk? And what do Washingtonians talk about?
Washington, DC is a diverse city with a unique history, and this history is reflected in today’s DC, in work and leisure, travel and tourism, local food culture, politics, and LANGUAGE. How people speak and what they talk about reflect and shape different cultures and world views. Through language use, we understand the world and the events, movements, communities, and individuals that have made Washington, DC what it is.
The LCDC project came about because DC has not been studied by many linguists in the past, despite the fact that Washington, DC is a fascinating place to study language.
Several things are of interest to us as linguists. We want to know:
- How have the languages and dialects spoken in Washington, DC and the surrounding area changed over time, and how are they changing now?
- Is there a “DC accent”? What is it like? Is there more than one?
- What do Washingtonians talk about? What historical events and contemporary concerns are at the forefront of Washingtonians’ minds?
- How has the city changed, and what kinds of stories do Washingtonians tell about the changing city?
We use research methods including sociolinguistic interviews, surveys, and participant observation.