34 - Phonology with Nicole Holliday

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Vocal fry. Code switching. Black Twitter. Valley girls. Culture vultures. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TALKING. Alie battles traffic to sit down with linguistics professor Dr. Nicole Holliday about intonational phonology: how tones and pitch help us bond with others and construct identities. Inspired in part by former President Barack Obama's masterful linguistic variability, Dr. Holliday's work focuses on how language is used in the crossing and construction of racial/ethnic boundaries. She graciously fielded tons of questions for a fascinating dive into the nuances and strict grammatical rules of African American Language, cultural appropriation, our educational system, honoring your identity, what not to wear in Paris and the roiling debate over who is the best rapper. Also: Alie is maybe a lizard person.

Listen on Art19, iTunes or wherever you get podcasts. 

Follow Dr. Nicole Holliday @MixedLinguist on Twitter and Instagram

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Some links that perhaps you will enjoy:

Nicole’s Podcast Recommendations:


Lexicon Valley


English with an Accent by Rosina Lippi-Green 


Your brain is like whaaat learning Arabic

Kelis, milkshake purveyor 

Click-through click-bait regarding the best rappers 

MTVs Hottest MCs in the Game lists

Follow DrakeOnACake. Just go do that. 

Einar Haugen’s Norwegian code-switching

More on that Norwegian code-switching study 

Dropping Gs for jokes

Where did the word “Ebonics” go? 

Phonology of African American Language/African American Vernacular English

Dr. Holliday’s dissertation- BEHOLD 

Uptalk? Is on the rise?

The 944-page Oxford Handbook of African American Language

Cre-e-e-aky voice study

Unchained Memories: Reading from the Slave Narratives

Black Twitter has a wiki

Cool: the coolest word

Dr. Holliday’s blog post about lexical innovation

 “Influence of Suprasegmental Features on Perceived Ethnicity of American Politicians”


Alie Ward