Stanford Experts

Penelope Eckert

Professor of Linguistics


(650) 725-1564



The goal of Professor Eckert’s research is to understand the social meaning of linguistic variation. In order to do this, she pursues socio-linguistic work in the context of in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, focusing on the relation between variation, linguistic style, social identity and social practice. Eckert writes, “Gender has been the big misunderstood in studies of socio-linguistic variation – in spite of the fact that some of the most exciting intellectual developments over the past decades have been in theories of gender and sexuality … so I have been spending a good deal of time working on language and gender as well. Since adolescents and preadolescents are the movers and shakers in linguistic change, I concentrate on this age group, and much of my research takes place in schools. The institutional research site has made me think a good deal about learning and education, but particularly about the construction of adolescence in American society.”