Honoring William Labov

Jan 6, 2021 |
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Read an edited version of William Labov’s remarks in the Bulletin.

Members were invited to join us for the presentation of the Talcott Parsons Prize to pioneering linguist William Labov for his distinguished and original contributions to the social sciences.

Dr. Labov is regarded as the founder of variationist sociolinguistics, a discipline dedicated to understanding and researching language in relation to social factors that include region, class, and gender. He has also worked to promote literacy for speakers of non-standard dialects and to develop reading and teaching materials for these populations.

The virtual program included remarks by Academy President David Oxtoby, University of Pennsylvania Provost Wendell Pritchett, and linguist Penelope Eckert, and a talk by Dr. Labov.

First awarded in 1974, the Talcott Parsons Prize was established to honor the noted sociologist and former president of the Academy. Previous recipients of the prize include Joan Wallach Scott (history), Daniel Kahneman (psychology), William Julius Wilson (sociology), and Albert O. Hirschman (economics). A complete list of all past winners is available here.

Read the press release for more information about the honoree and the prize.