About Me

My name is Chris Taylor; I'm a sociolinguist who moonlights in linguistic anthropology (see my upcoming double-panel, co-organized with Lauren Zentz, at the 112th AAA meeting in Chicago). Currently, I work as a Lecturer in the Linguistics Department at Rice University.

Through my research, I examine our capacity to valorize and strategically exploit linguistic variables by studying their co-occurrence, social distribution, and metapragmatic evaluation. Leveraging discourse analytic methods and techniques for acoustic analysis, my research contributes field-based insights into the interrelatedness of sociophonetic variability, social categorization, and cultural hierarchy.

My Research

Combining discourse analysis with techniques for studying phonetic detail, my sociolinguistic work considers how we, as speakers of human languages, exploit schematic knowledge of linguistic variation to negotiate how we are categorized and perceived by our fellow speakers.

To throw light on the nature of such knowledge, as well as its strategic use, I focus through my work on genres of speech and high-performance that foreground stylistic decisions and matters of self-presentation, including hip hop music and sketch comedy. These and similar genres offer unique insights into our capacity to segment, categorize, and construe phonological variables as indexical sign-phenomena ...read more »

Recent Scholarship

I recently co-organized panels for the SLA section (Society for Linguistic Anthropology) at the 111th and 112th annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (in San Francisco and Chicago, respectively).

Additionally, earlier this Spring, I gave presentations at UT Austin and UC Santa Barbara, which together highlighted how the realization of phonological variants in salient cultural texts shapes our ability to segment, reflect on, and valorize these phono-indexical phenomena.

I summarize and discuss the implications of this research in a forthcoming publication, "On the Politics of Vocalic Variation in Metasemiosis" (Semiotic Inquiry: Semiotics in Anthropology Today) . ...read more »


I am currently giving a course titled "Language & Society," which serves as an introduction to the study of language and society as interrelated and interdependent systems. ...view course webpage »

Curriculum Vitae

For the latest version of my CV, click here to view the browser-friendly online copy. Or, for a pdf, click here.

(*Last updated on October 10th, 2013.)