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, a co-PI on the NSF-funded NYC Individual Differences Corpus project, 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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MARCH 2024 I was quoted by the BBC on regional words for bread in British English.

FEBRUARY 2024 Just published, in American Speech: “I’ve always spoke like this, you see”: Participle leveling in three corpora of English, with members of my 2019 Linguistic Variation class (and Dan Duncan)!

JANUARY 2024 Spring teaching: graduate-level Linguistic Variation and undergraduate Language and Society.