John R. Rickford
Humanities and Arts
Literature and Language Studies
John Russell Rickford is one of the foremost linguists studying variation and change in language in its social context (sociolinguistics). His data come from American English, including African American Vernacular English, and creoles, historically mixed varieties like Gullah on the South Carolina Sea Islands and his native Guyanese Creole. He is a leading authority on these languages’ features, their origins and ongoing development, and their theoretical significance for models of sociolinguistic variation and change. He is also passionate about using information about these varieties to challenge and overcome misunderstandings and prejudices their speakers face in schools, courts, and daily life.