Briefly About John Rickford

John R. Rickford is the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities at Stanford University. He is also professor by courtesy in Education, and Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. He has been at Stanford since 1980.

He received his BA with highest honors in Sociolinguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1971, and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. He won a Dean's Award for distinguished teaching in 1984 and a Bing Fellowship for excellence in teaching in 1992.

The primary focus of his research and teaching is sociolinguistics, the relation between linguistic variation and change and social structure. He is especially interested in the relation between language and ethnicity, social class and style, language variation and change, pidgin and creole languages, African American Vernacular English, and the applications of linguistics to educational problems.

He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, and author or editor of several books, including A Festival of Guyanese Words (ed., 1978), Dimensions of a Creole Continuum (1987), Analyzing Variation in Language (co-ed., 1987), Sociolinguistics and Pidgin-Creole Studies (ed., 1988), African American English: Structure, History and Use (co-ed., 1998), African American Vernacular English: Features, Evolution, Educational Implications (1999), Creole Genesis, Attitudes and Discourse (co-ed., 2000), Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English (co-authored, 2000, winner of an American Book Award), Style and Sociolinguistic Variation (co-ed., 2001), Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-First Century (co-ed., 2004), Language, Culture and Caribbean Identity (co-ed, 2012) and African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource (co-authored, 2012). His latest book is Variation, Versatility and Change in Sociolinguistics and Creole Studies. For further details, see the Books page, the Research Interests statement, and the CV on this site.

April 26, 2021
The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 120 members...

Read the full press release here...

Latest Book

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race (with H. Samy Alim and Arnetha F. Ball )

This new website (as of September 1, 2015) includes several new features absent from my earlier website, and other features will be coming soon. I am grateful to Stanford alumnus Emerson Swan of Cygnusoft for his tremendous assistance with the design and set up of this site.