What We Do
- Learn about communities through histories, stories, and censuses.
- Interview people about life in their communities.
- Study specific dialect features and publish papers and articles about our findings.
- Teach dialect programs to schools and community organizations.
In short, the WVDP gathers information about language diversity and change from native Appalachians.
We begin by researching the history and culture of specific communities, assessing how those communities have changed over time. We then move into the exciting part of our research—one-on-one interviews with community members. In these conversations, people from the communities tell us about what life was like when they were growing up, how the community has changed over the years, and interesting stories about the rich traditions of West Virginia.
From the language samples recorded in these interviews, we are able to conduct linguistic analysis of language variation and change. From this research, we improve our public talks, our educational programs, and publish our findings in academic papers.