Laurel MacKenzie

Laurel MacKenzie

Associate Professor

New York University


I’m a linguist who studies the variability inherent in language. In my research, I analyze statistical patterns in large bodies of speech data in order to better understand how and why people talk differently—in different places, in different situations, and over time. I’m particularly interested in theoretical and empirical perspectives on intra-speaker variation.

I am a co-director of the NYU Sociolinguistics Lab; an Area Editor in the area of Sociolinguistics and Anthropological Linguistics for Linguistics Vanguard; and one of the academic leads of Our Dialects, an online atlas of British English regional dialects. I have published academic articles and book chapters on sociolinguistics, language variation, language change, dialectology, and linguistics pedagogy; I have also served as an expert consultant for media pieces on regional dialects, language change, personal names, and how speakers’ accents can change over time.

Outside of work, I can often be found birding in Washington Square Park.

  • Phonological, morphological, and syntactic variation
  • Regional varieties of British and American English
  • Language change across the lifespan
  • PhD in Linguistics, 2012

    University of Pennsylvania

  • BA in Linguistics, 2006

    University of California, Berkeley

  • BA in French, 2006

    University of California, Berkeley

Recent news

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AUGUST 2023 Just published, in Canadian Journal of Linguistics: Social role effects on English particle verb variation fail to replicate, with Naomi Lee.

JUNE 2023 I was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor! 🎉

JUNE 2023 I received an NSF grant for collaborative research with Jason Bishop (CUNY) and Jelena Krivokapić (U Michigan) into individual differences in speech production and their role in shaping patterns of variation.