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Kirk Hazen

Professor of Linguistics; Director, West Virginia Dialect Project

Curriculum Vitae

Professor Kirk Hazen is the linguist in the Department and directs the West Virginia Dialect Project. He has previously been recognized as a Woodburn Professor and as a Benedum Distinguished Scholar. He has investigated bidialectalism (NSF grant BCS-9982647), A Sociolinguistic Baseline for English in Appalachia (NSF grant BCS-0743489), Phonetic Variation of English in Appalachia (NSF grant BCS-1120156), and Community Studies of Sociolinguistic Change in Appalachia (NSF BCS-1651003). He has also investigated language variation in in North Carolina (Outer Banks and Warren County). The WVDP is involved in public education about dialect variation and language change.

  • Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language Variation and Change


  • Three-time winner of the Sigma Tau Delta Outstanding Teacher Award. 1999–2000, 2010–2011, 2019-2020.
  • WVU 150th Anniversary Honoree. 2018.
  • American Dialect Society Professorship. Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute. 2017.  
  • Faculty Award for Distinction in Undergraduate Research Mentoring. 2017.  
  • Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, Humanities. 2014–2015.
  • Woodburn Professorship. 2004–2006.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend. 2005.
  • Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award. 2002.  
  • Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award. 2002.

Selected Publications:

Recent Articles and Chapters:

  • Julia Davydova & Kirk Hazen. The Role of Linguistic Structure in the Perceptions of Vernacular Speech: Evidence from L1 English and EFL. 2021. English World-Wide 42.3. 

  • Gabriela N. Valencia, Stephanie Khoo, Ting Wong, Joseph Ta, Bob Hou, Lawrence W. Barsalou, Kirk Hazen, Huey Hannah Lin, Shuo Wang, Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, Chris A. Frum, and James W. Lewis. Chinese-English bilinguals show linguistic-perceptual links in the brain associating short spoken phrases with corresponding real-world natural action sounds by semantic category. 2021. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience  
  • The Contested Southernness of Appalachia. 2018. American Speech 93.3-4: 374-408. doi:10.1215/00031283-7271239. A special issue, Changing Perceptions of Southernness, edited by Jennifer Cramer and Dennis R. Preston. 
  • Listening to Rural Voices: Sociolinguistic Variation in West Virginia. 2018. Christine Mallinson & Lizzy Seale (eds.). Rural Voices: Language, Identity, and Social Change across Place. Washington, DC: Rowman & Littlefield. 75-90.
  • Sociolinguistic Outreach for the New South: Looking Back to Move Ahead. 2018. Language Variety in the New South: Change and Variation, Jeffrey Reaser, Eric Wilbanks, Karissa Wojcik, and Walt Wolfram (eds). Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press. 321-343.
  • Standards of pronunciation and regional accents. 2018. In the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary English Pronunciation, Okim Kang, Ron Thomson, and John Murphy (eds.). New York: Routledge. 189-202.
  • Language variation: Variationist analysis. 2017. In The Handbook of Linguistics. 2nd Edition. Mark Aronoff and Janie Rees-Miller, editors. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. 519-540. 
  • Variationist approaches to language and education. Rewritten and updated for 2017. In The Encyclopedia of Language and Education. 3rd edition. Kendall King and Yi-Ju Lai, editors. New York: Springer. 10.1007/978-3-319-02329-8_10-1. First version in 2007. In N. Hornberger and K. King (eds), The Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd edition. Volume 10: Research Methods in Language and Education. 85‒98.
  • Continuity and change of English consonants in Appalachia. 2016. Coauthored with Jordan Lovejoy, Jaclyn Daugherty, and Madeline Vandevender. In Appalachia Revisited: New Perspectives on Place, Tradition, and Progress. William Schumann and Rebecca Adkins Fletcher, editors. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. 119–138.
  • The interplay of morphological, phonological, and social constraints: Aint in Appalachia. 2015. Coauthored with Jacqueline Kinnaman, Lily Holz, Madeline Vandevender, and Kevin Walden. In Ain'thology: The History and Life of a Taboo Word. Patricia Donaher and Seth Katz, editors. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 178–194.
  • Forging third-wave dialectology. 2015. Dialectologia 15: 65-81.
  • A new role for an ancient variable in Appalachia: Paradigm leveling and standardization in West Virginia. 2014. Language Variation and Change 26.1: 77–102.
  • Methodological choices in language variation analysis. 2014. In The Variability of Current World Englishes. Eugene Green and Charles F. Meyer, editors. Topics in English Linguistics series. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter. 41–59.
  • Strengthening student understanding of mathematical language through verbal and written representations of the intermediate value theorem. 2014. Coauthored with Vicki Sealey and Jessica M. Deshler. PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies24.2: 175–190.

Select Grants:

  • Community Studies of Sociolinguistic Change in Appalachia. (BCS-1651003), a grant proposal funded by the National Science Foundation. 2017-2021 ($275,548).
  • Phonetic Variation in Appalachia (BCS-1120156). A grant proposal funded by the National Science Foundation. September 2011 – August 2015 ($239,724).
  • A Sociolinguistic Baseline for English in Appalachia (BCS 0743489). A grant proposal funded by the National Science Foundation. January 2008 – February 2012 ($252,243).
  • A Sociolinguistic Study of Bidialectalism (BCS-9982647). A grant proposal funded by the National Science Foundation. July 2000—June 2002 ($56,300).

Talks Offered:

Kirk Hazen currently offers the following talk as part of the English Department Speakers program:

“Talkin’ the Talk: Language in the Schools”
Parents and teachers have been concerned about teaching English for years, and as the recent Ebonics debate showed, it is a hot topic. But if no one argues about teaching physics, why would they argue about teaching English? This lecture explores that question and reveals the basic facts about language in a tour of English dialects in the South, including the Appalachian mountains and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

“Dialect Awareness Program”
Dialects are one of the most misunderstood human features in our modern times. This talk leads students and teachers through the systematic patterning of dialects and their variation in both time and space.

“What Teachers Need to Know About Language”
Designed for an audience of K-12 teachers, this interactive lesson provides context for discussing what language is and what teaching English should be.

The English Department Speakers program (EDS) provides talks for a variety of audiences-high schools, civic groups, community organizations, etc.-free of charge. To obtain more information about the EDS program or to schedule a speaker, call Professor Lisa Weihman at (304) 293-9735 or e-mail her at