For questions regarding your VIP team's operations this Fall, please see our VIP policy for Fall 2020 and Notes from instructors on delivery modes. For information on returning to campus, please visit GA Tech's Moving Foward page.

NEW TEAM: Language & Politics in the New South

2021 ~ Present | DILAC, Dr. Jon Forrest, Assistant Professor of Linguistics (UGA)


With an approval from the Georgia Tech IRB, we are in the process of building and transcribing a corpus of recorded audio interviews with Georgia Tech students. (So far, we have recorded and transcribed 25 interviews, but we aim for over 100 to get enough data for each of the different demographic and political affiliations that interest us.)  We use phonetic software to measure the position of the tongue in the mouth when producing vowels to quantify the idea of a “southern accent” to explore the hypothesis that more-conservative young Georgians may use more-“southern” accents. We are also conducting perception studies, gathering data on how “southern” people sound, to explore whether the perceived “southernness” of their accent correlates with phonetic measurements and/or with perceptions of their race/ethnicity and/or how “conservative” or “liberal” they sound.  Broadly, this project explores the role of (political) ideology in accents and language change.  Students build skills in interviewing, data management, qualitative and quantitative analysis, web surveys/experiments, phonetic measurements, statistics, and the presentation of academic results to varied audiences.

Some of our participants consented to share a short clip of themselves reading a story as public data.  (For all our participants, the part where they talk in more detail about their lives is private because it is more personal). If you want to hear what young Georgia Tech students sound like today (do they have "southern accents"?), you are welcome to listen to these clips!

Issues Involved or Addressed

 Language, politics, society, linguistics, psychology, demographics, speech

Methods and Technologies

  • Praat (phonetics software)
  • Qualtrics
  • Mechanical Turk
  • Python
  • R

Academic Majors of Interest

  • All Disciplines
  • Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Literature, Media, and Communication
  • Modern Languages
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Language / Society / Politics

Experience with or willingness to learn qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills.

Completion of LING 2100 (Intro to Linguistics)


Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
Swann 331
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Dr. Lelia Glass

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

DILAC, Dr. Jon Forrest, Assistant Professor of Linguistics (UGA)

Related Sites