Laurel MacKenzie

Laurel MacKenzie

Assistant 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. In addition to publishing academic articles and book chapters on sociolinguistics, language variation, language change, dialectology, and linguistics pedagogy, I have served as an expert consultant for media pieces on regional dialects, language change, personal names, and how speakers’ accents can change over time.

  • 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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OCTOBER 2022 I was at NWAV 50 to present a project launch talk entitled SocialEyes: Testing the mechanism behind child incrementation, co-authored with Ailís Cournane.

AUGUST 2022 Fall teaching: undergraduate Language and Society, with Gary Thoms, and a graduate seminar on quantitative methods for studying intra-speaker variation & change.

JUNE 2022 Just published (open access!), in Journal of Linguistic Geography: Towards an updated dialect atlas of British English, with George Bailey and Danielle Turton.