Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences
B.A., Binghamton University ; M.S., University of Lyon; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Green Hall, Rm 135
Sabriya FisherDiana Chapman Walsh Assistant Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences
Research interests include sociolinguistics, language variation & change, varieties of English, and the language varieties of the African diaspora.
My research is broadly focused on language variation and change, with a particular focus on varieties of English and the language varieties of the African Diaspora. My most recent work, funded by an NSF grant, examines syntactic change in the negation system of African American English in Philadelphia. Other projects I have worked on explore the perception and acquisition of sociolinguistic variation, changes in the sound system of Philadelphia English(es), and syntactic change in both general American English and French Guyanais Creole.
I use a variety of methodological tools to study linguistic phenomena, including traditional sociolinguistic fieldwork, corpus linguistics, and experimental methods. I’m currently in the process of setting up a Sociolinguistics Lab at Wellesley. The Lab will offer the opportunity to mentor students in sociolinguistic research.
At the introductory/intermediate level, I teach Introduction to Linguistics (Ling 114), Sociolinguistics (Ling 238), and Language: Form and Meaning (Ling 244). At the advanced level, I teach a seminar on African American English (Ling 338). This course explores the linguistic features, history, and current social context of the second most spoken variety of English in the U.S. As a new faculty member, I look forward to developing courses at Wellesley that will explore the intersection of language and society, how language varies, and how it changes over time.
My professional interests include promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of linguistics. In turn, I use linguistic research to promote an appreciation for linguistic diversity and the inclusion of marginalized speech communities within the discipline. I’m an active member of the Linguistic Society of America. In the past, I have participated in the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics and the Caribbean Society for Linguistics.
Outside of linguistics, I enjoy running, listening to and playing music, travelling, cooking (eating more so), learning how to make wine, and spending time laughing with friends and family.