Alicia Beckford Wassink


Employment and Professional Honors

Research Projects

Publications & Talks

Professional Service


* pdf versions of selected Presentations listed below are available on the University of Washington, Department of Linguistics, Sociolinguistics Laboratory website.

Refereed Articles


Wassink, A. B. “Sociolinguistic Patterns in Seattle English” Language Variation and Change 27(1): 31-58. DOI:

Scanlon, M. and Wassink A. B. (2010) “African American English in Urban Seattle: accommodation and intra-speaker variation in the Pacific Northwest” American Speech 85(2), pp 205-224


MacLeod, A.N., Stoel-Gammon, C., and Wassink, A. B. (2009) “Production of high vowels in Canadian English and Canadian French: a comparison of early bilingual and monolingual speakers.” Journal of Phonetics, 37(4), pp 374-387


Franklin, A., Stoel-Gammon, C & Wassink, A. B. (2008) “Acoustic quantification of /i/-/_/ overlap in children 21 to 33 months”, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 10(5), pp1-14


Wassink, A. B., Wright, R. A. and Franklin, A. (2007) “Intraspeaker variability in vowel production: an investigation of motherese, hyperspeech, and Lombard speech in Jamaican speakers,” Journal of Phonetics 35(3), pp 363-379


Wassink, A. B. (2006) “A geometric representation of spectral and temporal vowel features: Quantification of vowel overlap in three varieties,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(4), pp 2334-2350


Wassink, A. B. and Dyer, J. (2004)  Language Ideology and the Transmission of Phonological Change,” Journal of English Linguistics  32(1), pp1-16

Wassink, A. B. and Curzan, A. (2004) “Addressing Ideologies Around African American English,” Journal of English Linguistics, 32(3), pp 171-185


Wassink, A. B. (2001) “Theme and Variation in Jamaican Vowels,” Language Variation and Change, 13(2), pp 135-159

Dyer, J. and Wassink, A. B. (2001)  Taakin’ Braad and Talking Broad: the changing indexicality of phonological variants,” Texas Linguistic Forum 44(2). Austin: UT Austin, pp288-301


Beckford Wassink, A. (1999) “Historic Low Prestige and Seeds of Change:  attitudes toward Jamaican Creole,” Language in Society, 28(1), pp57-92

Special Issues

Wassink, A. B. and Curzan, A. (2004, eds.) “African American English: Research Directions and Current Educational Questions (1998-present),” Journal of English Linguistics, 129 pp

Articles in Edited Collections


Wassink, A. B. The Vowels of Washington State (2017) In Speech in the Western States: vol. 1: the coastal states (Fridland, V. Kendall, T. Wassink, A.B. and Evans, B., eds.). Publications of the American Dialect Society.  Duke University Press.


di Paolo, M., Yaeger-Dror, M. and Wassink, A. B. (2011) Analyzing Vowels, ch. 8.  In, Sociophonetics: A Student's Guide (Marianna di Paolo and Malcah Yaeger Dror, eds.).   London: Routledge.


Wassink, A. B. (2010) “Growing up with two ‘Black Languages’:  kinship and attitudes toward Jamaican Creole and African-American English”. In Lanehart, S. (ed.) African American Women’s Language: Discourse, Education and Identity Boston: Cambridge UP, pp. 127-140.

Thomas, E. R. and Wassink, A. B. (2010) “Variation and Identity in African American English”, ch. 15.  In, Watt, D. and Llamas, C. (eds.) Language and Identities, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP.


Wassink, A. B. (2005) “My Teacher Says...: Linguistic Competence and the Anglophone Creole Speaking Student.”  In Denham, K. and Lobeck, A. (eds.)  Language in the Schools: Integrating linguistic knowledge into K-12 teaching.  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. pp55-70


Edited Volumes


Fridland, V., Kendall, T., Wassink, A. B. and Evans, B. (in press) Speech in the Western States, vol 2: the intermountain states. Publications of the American Dialect Society.

Fridland, V., Kendall, T., Wassink, A. B. and Evans, B. (2017) Speech in the Western States, vol 1: the coastal states. Publications of the American Dialect Society 101, No. 1.

Invited Talks

2017, Donn F. Bailey invited lecture

Wassink, A.B. “Physiological and Linguistic Influences on the Speech of Rachel Jeantel,” National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing annual meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, April 6-8.

2017, Colloquium

Wassink, A.B. “The Social Networks of Minority Ethnicity Group Members in Washington State”, University of Oregon Department of Linguistics, March 10.


Wassink, A. B. “Reanalysis and Conventionalization of a Universal Phonetic Pattern in WA State English.” University of California, Berkeley. 18 April, 2016.

2015, Plenary

Wassink, A. B.  “Dialect Evolution in the Pacific Northwest: reanalysis and conventionalization of a universal phonetic pattern.”  Invited plenary presented at the 89th Annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (Portland)


“Vowel raising in Washington State: What’s the bag deal?” Invited Colloquium, Stanford University, April


Phonetic Universals, Individual Variation and Linguistic Innovation in the American Pacific Northwest. Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, October.


Participant, West Coast Dialect Summit, Stanford University, 26 July 2012. Penelope Eckert, organizer.


An exemplar-based account of the development of sociolinguistic competence in children” U of Washington Colloquium series, 19 February.


“The development of sociolinguistic competence in children.” U of Chicago Colloquium series, 4 December.


A child's-eye view: children's perception and production of phonological variation.” Speech and Language Sciences Seminar, Newcastle University Phonetics Research Group, 29 November.

 “(Post)Colonial assumptions in linguistic theory: system in Jamaican Creole Phonology”, as part of workshop English in a Global Context: Postcolonial Intersections in Literary and Linguistic Studies,”  Isabelle Buchstaller and Neelam Srivastava (organizers) 25 November.


 “Modeling the tense~lax distinction in three varieties:  perspectives on vowel volumes,” University of Michigan, Department of Linguistics colloquium series, April.


 “The long and short of vowel distribution overlap,” University of Washington Linguistics Colloquium, November.

 “Language ideology and phonological change,” Simon Fraser University Linguistics Colloquium, October.

 “The changing indexicality of phonological variants in two language context situations,” presented at “A Day in Sociolinguistics,” University of the West Indies, May.

 “Understanding variation in Jamaican vowel systems,” the University of the West Indies, April.  Guest lecture for seminar (Lecturer A. Irvine)

 “Variability in language production and perception:  a cross-linguistic investigation of motherese, hyperspeech, and Lombard Speech,” the University of the West Indies, April.


 “Taakin braad and talking broad:  the changing indexicality of phonological variants in two language contact situations,” Linguistics Colloquium, University of Washington, November.


"Language, Culture and Misinterpreted Linguistic Cues," University of Washington, Bothell, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, April; October, 2000 (Diane Gillespie, Instructor)


"Culture and the Context of Colonization: the role of language attitudes in language demise or development," University of Washington, Language and Rhetoric/Language Use and Acquisition Colloquium series, December.

"Language, Culture and Misinterpreted Linguistic Cues," University of Washington, Bothell, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, October.

"Pidgins and Creoles:  their sounds and structures," University of Washington, Seattle, LING 200. July 1999.  Talk given again in August, 1999.


“A Tale of Two Tongues:  Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole,” Center for the Education of Women, Ann Arbor, Michigan, February.


“An Acoustic Phonetic Analysis of Jamaican Vowels,” University of the West Indies--Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, May.

"Why Do Non-standard Languages Persist?:  Covert and overt attitudes toward Jamaican Creole," University of Washington, Seattle, February.


“Intercultural Communication Competence,” William Tyndale College, Farmington Hills, Michigan.  COM 401-1: Cross-cultural communication, September.


“Pidgins, Creoles, and ‘the New Englishes’,”, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, July.



Public Scholarship/Media Appearances


KUOW radio, Why do some locals say 'Wershington' instead of 'Washington?' - KUOW” interview and blog post, Amy Rolph. March 15, 2017 (


KUOW radio, “Do Pacific Northwesterners Have an Accent?” interview on Pacific Northwest English project, Deborah Wang, Dec. 15 ( Story ranked #1 for all of 2014 on KUOW.


King5 Television, “Is there a Seattle Accent”,, April 2


KPLU radio, “I Wonder Why” interview on Pacific Northwest English project, Bellamy Pailthorpe, Dec. 2


KUOW radio, “Weekday” program—feature on Pacific Northwest English project, host Marcie Silman, May 26

Seattle Post-Intelligencer article, “Got a Northwest dialect? It’s creaky,” Tom Paulson, Friday, May 20—feature on Pacific Northwest dialect project and Acoustical Society poster presented in Vancouver BC


Charles Osgood Show, Sunday January 5—Interviewed at the Linguistic Society of America regarding research in Pidgin and creole linguistics, Dialectology


KBCS radio—feature on the Center for Mind, Brain, and Learning project, Intraspeaker variability in vowel production


Invited Speaker, Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), Seattle Chapter


Outreach consultant.  John Stanford International School, Seattle, Washington