North Carolina State University
Humanities and Arts
Literature and Language Studies
For 50+ years, Walt Wolfram has been a leader in the study of American dialects (e.g. African American, Appalachian, Cherokee, Lumbee and Puerto Rican English) and their theoretical and methodological implications for the emerging field of Sociolinguistics. He has also advocated for and exemplified the obligation to share scientific findings about language with communities (through films, exhibitions in museums, and programs in schools,. He has contributed significantly to key issues like variable rules; sharp vs. gradient linguistic stratification; class, generation and gender in language variation and change; the origins and development of African American Vernacular; and strategies for improving social and educational outcomes related to linguistic diversity.