Dr Erik R Thomas

Picture of Dr Erik R Thomas

Professor

Biography

Born 29 December 1965 in Columbus, Ohio

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, Linguistics, 1995

M.A., Texas A&M University, English, 1989

A.B., Duke University, Botany, 1988

married (wife: Barbara E. Hunter), two children

Teaching and Research Interests

Sociophonetics, including acoustic analysis of language variation and perceptual experiments on language variation

Cognition of language variation

Minority varieties of English in the United States

Geographical and diachronic variation in English dialects

History of English

Projects

I am currently conducting analysis on new dialect formation, primarily using acoustic analysis of phonetic variables, among Mexican Americans in a community in southern Texas.

 

I have conducted research involving acoustic analysis and speech identification experiments on African American English.

 

I have also been working on a project involving how durable old dialect boundaries are in Ohio.

 

Funded Research

Co-PI, National Science Foundation Grant BCS 0542139, “Old and New Ethnic

Dialect Configuration in the American South,” 2006-09, $223,645

 

National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0213941,  “Socio-Phonetic Cues

Differentiating African American and European American Voices,” 2002-04, $148,597

           

Awards for Beginning Academics, National Science Foundation, 1998-99,

$20,998.94

           

Faculty Research and Professional Development Grant, North Carolina State                                 University, 1996-97, $4,668.20

Publications

Thomas, Erik R.  2011.  Sociophonetics: An Introduction.  Basingstoke, U.K./New York: Palgrave.  356 + xiv pp.

Thomas, Erik R.  2001.  An Acoustic Analysis of Vowel Variation in New World English.  Publication of the American Dialect Society 85.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press.  230 + ix pp.

Wolfram, Walt, and Erik R. Thomas.  2002.  The Development of African American English.  Language in Society 31.  Oxford, UK/ Malden, MA: Blackwell.  237 + xv pp.

Yaeger-Dror, Malcah, and Erik R. Thomas, eds.  2010.  African American English Speakers and Their Participation in Local Sound Changes: A Comparative Study.  Publication of the American Dialect Society 94.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press.  225 + viii pp.

Thomas, Erik R.  Forthcoming.  “Sociophonetics.”  The Handbook of Language Variation and Change.  Ed. J. K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling-Estes.  2nd edn.  Oxford, UK/ Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Thomas, Erik R.  2011.  “Collecting Data on Phonology.”  In April McMahon and Warren Maguire (eds.), Analysing Variation in English.  Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 7-29.

Thomas, Erik R.  2011.  “Mental Representation of Sociolinguistic Variables.”  Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 2:701-16.

Thomas, Erik R.  2010.  “A Longitudinal Analysis of the Durability of the Northern/Midland Dialect Boundary in Ohio.”  American Speech 85:375-430.

Thomas, Erik R.  2008.  “Sociophonetic Methods for Studying Substratal Effects and New Dialect Formation.”  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 123:3067.

Thomas, Erik R.  2007a.  Phonological and Phonetic Characteristics of AAVE.  Language and Linguistics Compass 1:450-75.

Thomas, Erik R.  2007b.  “R in Southern Speech.”  The New Encyclopedia of Southern  Culture.  Vol. 5: Language.  Oxford, MS: University of Mississippi Press.  189-91.

Thomas, Erik R.  2007c.  “Sociophonetics.”  In Robert Bayley and Ceil Lucas (eds.), Sociolinguistic Variation: Theories, Methods, and Analysis.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 215-33.

Thomas, Erik R.  2006.  “Evidence from Ohio on the Evolution of /æ/.”  In Language Variation and Change in the American Midland: A New Look at “Heartland” English, ed. Thomas E. Murray and Beth Lee Simon.  Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.  69-89.

Thomas, Erik R.  2005a.  “Cues Used for Distinguishing African American and European American Voices.”  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 117:2458.

Thomas, Erik R.  2005b.  “Rural White Southern Accents.”  In Varieties of English: The Americas/Caribbean, ed. Edgar W. Schneider.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 87-114.

Thomas, Erik R.  2005c.  “Vowel Shifts and Vowel Mergers.”  In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., ed. Keith Brown.  Oxford, U.K.: Elsevier.

Thomas, Erik R.  2003.  “Secrets Revealed by Southern Vowel Shifting.”  American Speech 78:150-70.

Thomas, Erik R.  2002a.  “A Brief History of Johnstown, Ohio.”  A Pictorial History of Johnstown, Ohio, compiled by The Mary E. Babcock Foundation.  Columbus, OH: Spahr & Glenn Co. Printing.  5-6.

Thomas, Erik R.  2002b.  “Instrumental Phonetics.”  The Handbook of Language Variation and Change.  Ed. J. K. Chambers, Peter Trudgill, and Natalie Schilling-Estes.  1st edn.  Oxford, UK/ Malden, MA: Blackwell.  168-200.

Thomas, Erik R.  2002c.  “Sociophonetic Applications of Speech Perception Experiments.”  American Speech 77:115-47.

Thomas, Erik R.  2000a.  “Applying Phonetic Methods to Language Variation.”  American Speech 75:368-70.

Thomas, Erik R.  2000b.  “Reevaluating and Refining Peripherality.”  ERIC Document ED 452 711.

Thomas, Erik R.  2000c.  “Spectral Differences in /ai/ Offsets Conditioned by Voicing of the Following Consonant.”  Journal of Phonetics 28:1-25.

Thomas, Erik R.  1999.  “The North Carolina Language and Life Project’s Survey of Hyde County.”  High Tides 20:31-36.

Thomas, Erik R.  1998.  “The Relationship Between Final Alveolar Stops and /ai/ Offsets in American English.”  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 104:1779.

Thomas, Erik R.  1997. “A Rural/Metropolitan Split in the Speech of Texas Anglos.”  Language Variation and Change 9:309-32.

Thomas, Erik R.  1996.  “A Comparison of Variation Patterns of Variables among Sixth-Graders in an Ohio community.”  Focus on the USA.  Ed. Edgar W. Schneider.  Varieties of English around the World, General Series 16. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.  149-68.

Thomas, Erik R.  1993a.  “Why we Need Descriptive Studies: Phonological Variables in Hispanic English.”  SALSA I (Proceedings of the First Annual Symposium about Language and Society—Austin).  Ed. Robin Queen and Rusty Barrett.  Texas Linguistic Forum 33.  Austin: University of Texas, Department of Linguistics.  42-49.

Thomas, Erik R.  1993b.  “The Use of the All the + Comparative Structure.”  “Heartland” English: Variation and Transition in the American Midwest.  Ed. Timothy C. Frazer.  University of Alabama Press.  257-65.

Thomas, Erik R.  1991.  “The Origin of Canadian Raising in Ontario.”  Canadian Journal of Linguistics 36:147-70.

Thomas, Erik R.  1989.  “The Implications of /o/ Fronting in Wilmington, North Carolina.”  American Speech 64:327-33.

Thomas, Erik R.  1989 [1993].  “Vowel Changes in Columbus, Ohio.”  Journal of English Linguistics 22:205-15.

Thomas, Erik R., and Guy Bailey.  1998.  “Parallels between Vowel Subsystems of African American Vernacular English and Caribbean Creoles.”  Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 13:267-96.

Thomas, Erik, and Guy Bailey.  1992.  “A Case of Competing Mergers and their Resolution.”  The SECOL Review 16:179-200.

Thomas, Erik R., and Phillip M. Carter.  2006.  “Rhythm and African American English.”  English World-Wide 27:331-55.

Thomas, Erik R., and Elizabeth L. Coggshall.  2006-07.  “Comparing Phonetic Characteristics of African American and European American English.”  Linguistica Atlantica (Journal of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association). 27-28:112-16.

Thomas, Erik R., and Holly A. Ericson.  2007.  “Intonational Distinctiveness of Mexican American English.”  Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 13.2:193-205.

Thomas, Erik R., Norman J. Lass, and Jeannine Carpenter.  2010.  “Identification of African American Speech.”  In Dennis R. Preston and Nancy Niedzielski (eds.), A Reader in Sociophonetics.  Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 219.  New York: De Gruyter Mouton.  265-85.

Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey Reaser.  2004.  “Delimiting Perceptual Cues Used for the Ethnic Labeling of African American and European American Voices.”  Journal of Sociolinguistics 8:54-86.

Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey Reaser.  Forthcoming.  An Experiment on Cues Used for Identification of Voices as African American or European American.  In Michael D. Picone and Catherine Evans Davies (eds.), Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.  Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.  1037-71.

Thomas, Erik R., and Alicia Beckford Wassink.  2010.  “Regional Variation in African American English.”  In Dominic Watt and Carmen Llamas (eds.), Language and Identities.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.  157-65.

Bailey, Guy, and Erik Thomas.  1998.  “Some Aspects of African-American Vernacular English Phonology.”  African American English.  Ed. Salikoko S. Mufwene, John Rickford, John Baugh, and Guy Bailey.  London: Routledge.  85-109.

Bailey, Guy, and Erik R. Thomas.  In preparation.  Segmental Phonology of African American EnglishThe Oxford Handbook of African American Language.  Ed. Sonja L. Lanehart, Lisa Green, and Jennifer Bloomquist.  Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

Hofwegen, Janneke van, and Erik R. Thomas.  2009.  Velarization of word-initial /l/ in African American English.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 125:2567.

Kendall, Tyler, and Erik R. Thomas.  2010.  “Dissecting Rate of Speech: The Effect of Phrase Final Lengthening on Articulation Rate.”  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 128:2458.

McDonald, Katherine L., and Erik R. Thomas.  2012.  “Incorporating Cepstral Peak Prominence as an Acoustic Method for Assessing Variation in Voice Quality.”  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132:2088.

Moreton, Elliott, and Erik Thomas.  2007.  “Origins of Canadian Raising in Voiceless-Coda Effects: A Case Study in Phonologization.”  Papers in Laboratory Phonology 9.  Ed. Jennifer Cole and José Ignacio Hualde.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  36-74.

Wolfram, Walt, Erik R. Thomas, and Elaine W. Green.  2000.  “The Regional Context of Earlier African-American Speech: Evidence for Reconstructing the Development of AAVE.”  Language in Society 29:315-45.

Presentations

Thomas, Erik R.  2008.  “A Longitudinal Study of the Durability of an Old Dialect Boundary.”  Methods XIII (13th Conference on Methods in Dialectology), Leeds, England, 6 August.

Thomas, Erik R.  2008.  “Sociophonetic Methods for Studying Substratal Effects and New Dialect Formation.”  Acoustics ’08 Paris (155th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and 9th Congrés Français d’Acoustique), Paris, France, 30 June.

Thomas, Erik R.  2006.  “Phonetic Properties of Linguistic Profiling in American

English.”  Invited Presentation.  Conference on Linguistic Profiling and

Linguistic Human Rights, St. Louis, MO, 28 April.

Thomas, Erik R.  2005.  “Identification of African American Speech.”  Symposium on Sociophonetics—A New Tool in Applied Linguistics.  AILA World Congress, Madison, WI, 26 July.

Thomas, Erik R.  2003.  “Phonetic Cues that Identify African American English.”  New York University Linguistics Colloquium, 14 November.

Thomas, Erik R.  2003.  “Secrets of Southern Vowel Shifting.”  Linguistic

Society of America Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 5 January.

Thomas, Erik R.  2002.  “An Acoustic Investigation into the History of

Competing Vowel Shift Patterns.”  Meeting of the North Carolina

Regional Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America, Raleigh, NC, 8

November.

Thomas, Erik R.  2002.  “Reconstructing the History of Competing Vowel Shift

Patterns.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXXI, Stanford, CA, 11

October.

Thomas, Erik R.  2001.  “Perception Experiments in Sociolinguistics and

Applications for Ethnic Variation.”  University of South Carolina

Linguistics Colloquium, Columbia, SC, 19 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  2001.  “Sociophonetics and Mental Organization of Sounds.” 

New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXX, Raleigh, NC, 11 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  2000.  “Reevaluating and Refining Peripherality.”  New Ways

of Analyzing Variation XXIX, East Lansing, MI, 7 October.

 Thomas, Erik R.  1999.  “A First Look at African-American Vernacular English                         Intonation.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXVIII, Toronto, ON, 16 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  1999.  “Broadening Phonetic Methods in Dialectology.”  10th                        International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, St. John’s, NF, 2 August.

Thomas, Erik R.  1998.  “The Relationship Between Final Alveolar Stops and /ai/

 Offsets in American English.”  136th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of

 America, Norfolk, VA, 13 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  1998.  “The History and Direction of AAVE Vowels in Two North Carolina Communities.”  Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Lafayette, LA, 27 March.

Thomas, Erik R.  1997.  “Mainstream and Isolated African-American Vowel Systems.”  Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Charlotte, NC, 5 April.

Thomas, Erik R.  1996.  “Sunbelt Migration and the Formation of an Urban/Rural                          Dialect Split in Texas.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXV, Las Vegas, NV, 20 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  1996.  “The Role of Individuation in Sound Change.” Southeastern Conference on Lingusitics, College Station, TX, 16 March.

Thomas, Erik R.  1995.  “The Effects of Duration-Dependent Reduction in the Actuation of a Sound Change in Ohio.  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXIV, Philadelphia, PA, 13 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  1993.  “Why we Need Descriptive Studies: Phonological Variables in Hispanic English.”  Symposium about Language and Society—Austin I, Austin, TX, 17 April.

Thomas, Erik R.  1991.  “Phonetic Implementation of Phonological Specifications in Offglides.”  26th Annual Mid-America Linguistics Conference, Stillwater, OK, 21 September.

Thomas, Erik R.  1990.  “Plotting Vowel Changes in Linguistic Atlas Data by Means of Contour Intervals.”  International Conference of Dialectologists, Bamberg, Germany, 3 August.

Thomas, Erik R.  1989.  “Fronting of /aU/ in North America.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XVIII, Durham, NC, 22 October.

Thomas, Erik R.  1989.  “Linguistic Atlas Data and the Southern Shift.” Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Norfolk, VA, 25 March.

Thomas, Erik R.  1986.  “Vowel Changes in Columbus, Ohio.”  South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Atlanta, GA, 15 November.

Thomas, Erik, and Guy Bailey.  1994.  “The Fourth Dialect.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXIII, Stanford, CA, 23 October.

Thomas, Erik R., and Guy Bailey.  1994.  “The Origins of Monophthongal /ai/ in Southern Speech.” Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Memphis, TN, 8 April.

Thomas, Erik R., and Guy Bailey.  1993.  “The Evolution of some Southern American Vowel Systems.”  Southeastern Conference on Linguistics— Language Variety in the South II, Auburn, AL, 3 April.

Thomas, Erik R., and Guy Bailey.  1991.  “Competing Mergers and their Resolution.” New Ways of Analyzing Variation XX, Washington, DC, 5 October.

Thomas, Erik R., Guy Bailey, and Robert Benson.  1990.  “A Phonetic Description of Monophthongal /aI/.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XIX, Philadelphia, PA, 21 October.

Thomas, Erik R., and Erin E. Callahan.  2007.  “Selection of Interference Features in the Formation of a New Dialect.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXXVI, Philadelphia, PA, 13 October.

Thomas, Erik, Nicole Cardi, Ashley Carroll, Jennifer Fox, Jamie Hitchens, and Norman Lass.  2005.  “Cues for Identification of African American and European American Speakers.”  ASHA, San Diego, CA, 19 November.

Thomas, Erik R., Jeannine Carpenter, and Norman E. Lass.  2004.  “A Comparison of Phonetic Cues Used for Ethnic Identification.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXXIII, Ann Arbor, MI, 1 October.

Thomas, Erik R., and Elizabeth L. Coggshall.  2005.  “Comparing Phonetic Characteristics of African American and European American Speech.” 12th International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, Moncton, NB, 5 August.

Thomas, Erik R., and Phillip Carter.  2005.  “Evidence on the History of Prosodic Rhythm in African American English.”  American Dialect Society Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 6 January.

Thomas, Erik R., and Phillip Carter.  2003b.  “A First Look at Rhythm in Southern African American and European American English.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXXII, Philadelphia, PA, 10 October.

Thomas, Erik R., and Phillip Carter.  2003a.  “A Cross-Ethnic Comparison of Rhythm in the American South.  4th UK Language Variation and Change Conference, Sheffield, England, 12 September.

Thomas, Erik R., Phillip M. Carter, and Elizabeth L. Coggshall.  2006.  “Acoustic Evidence for New Dialect Formation.”  American Dialect Society Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, 6 January.

Thomas, Erik R., and Holly Ericson.  2006.  “Intonational Distinctiveness of Mexican American English.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation, Columbus, OH, 10 November.

Thomas, Erik R., Tyler S. Kendall, and Belinda T. Schouten.  2010.  “A Comprehensive Look at Variation and Change in a Mexican American Community.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation 39, San Antonio,TX, 4 November.

Thomas, Erik R., and Norman E. Lass.  2005.  “Cues Used for Distinguishing African American and European American Voices.”  Acoustical Society of America Meeting, Vancouver, 17 May.

Thomas, Erik R., and Norman E. Lass.  2004.  “Ethnic Identification Factors for African American and European American Speakers.”  ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) Meeting, Philadelphia, 18 November.

Thomas, Erik R., and Norman E. Lass.  2008.  “Effects of Vowel Quality, Prosody, and Breathiness on Speaker Ethnic Identification.”  ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) Meeting, Chicago, 22 November.

Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey L. Reaser.  2004.  “An Experiment on Cues Used for Identification of Voices as African American or European American.”  3rd decennial conference on Language Variety in the South (LAVIS), Tuscaloosa, AL, 15 April.  (Invited)

Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey L. Reaser.  2002.  “Perceptual Cues Used for Ethnic Labeling of Hyde County, North Carolina, Voices.”  American Dialect Society Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 3 January.

Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey L. Reaser.  2001. “A Perceptual Experiment on the Ethnic Labeling of Hyde County, North Carolina, Voices.”  Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Knoxville, TN, 7 April.

Thomas, Erik R., and Janneke van Hofwegen.  2011.  “Consonantal Variation in the English of a Spanish-Substrate Community.”  International Conference on Methods in Dialectology 14, London, ON, August.

Bailey, Guy, and Erik Thomas.  1998.  “The Post-Colonial Origins of African American Vernacular English: An Hypothesis.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation  XXVII, Athens, GA, 3 October.

Bailey, Guy, and Erik Thomas.  1994.  “The Evolution of some African American Vowel Systems.”  Memphis Research Symposium: Communication Disorders in African American Children and Youth, Memphis, TN, 10 June. 

Cole, Jennifer, Erik R. Thomas, Erica Britt, and Elizabeth L. Coggshall.  2005. “Intonational Distinctiveness of African American English.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXXIV, New York, 23 October.

Davenport, Sonja, Dawn Washington, Guy Bailey, and Erik R. Thomas.  1990.   “The Evolution of Southern American Monophthongal /aI/.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XIX, Philadelphia, PA, 21 October.

Hofwegen, Janneke van, and Erik R. Thomas.  2009.  Velarization of word-initial /l/ in African American English.  157th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Portland, OR, 19 May.

Kendall, Tyler, and Erik R. Thomas.  2010.  “Dissecting Rate of Speech: The Effect of Phrase Final Lengthening on Articulation Rate.”  Second Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics, Cancun, Mexico, 18 November 2010. 

McDonald, Katie, and Erik R. Thomas.  2011.  “Cepstral Peak Prominence as a Method for Gauging Ethnic Differences in Phonation.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation 40, Washington, DC, 28 October.

McLarty, Jason A., and Erik R. Thomas.  2010.  “A Comparison of Pitch Accent Types and Frequencies in Intonation of AAE and EAE Speakers in Raleigh, North Carolina.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation 39, San Antonio, TX, 6 November.

Moreton, Elliott, and Erik Thomas.  2004.  “Origins of Canadian Raising in Voiceless-Coda Effects: A Case Study in Phonologization.” 9th Conference on Laboratory Phonology, Urbana-Champaign, IL, 25 June.

Wolfram, Walt, Erik Thomas, and Elaine Green.  1999.  “The Regional Context of Earlier African-American Speech.”  Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, 10 January.

Wolfram, Walt, Erik Thomas, and Elaine W. Green.  1998.  “Dynamic Boundaries in African American Vernacular English: The Role of Local Dialect in the History of AAVE.”  American Dialect Society Meeting, New York, NY, 9 January.

Wolfram, Walt, Erik Thomas, and Elaine W. Green.  1997.  “Reconsidering the Development of African American Vernacular English: Lessons from Isolated Speakers.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation XXVI, Quebec City, Quebec, 25 October.

Yaeger-Dror, Malcah, and Erik R. Thomas, co-organizers.  2007.  “Symposium on Vowel Phonology and Ethnicity.”  Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA, 7 January.

Yaeger-Dror, Malcah, and Erik R. Thomas, co-organizers.  2008.  “Symposium on Urban Vowel Phonology and African American Identity.”  Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 3 January.

Responsibilities

Director, Linguistics Program

Various departmental committees

Education

  • Ph.D. in Linguistics from University of Texas at Austin, 1995