On their recent visit to the vicinity of Babel HQ, legendary linguists William Labov and Gillian Sankoff, gave an exclusive interview to some postgraduate students from the University of York. The rare and exclusive interview will appear in the next issue of Babel magazine. They were quizzed on their sociolinguistic research into the African American English dialect and variation.
The interviewers - Ella Jeffries, Jessica Wormald and Rachelle Price - were delighted to hear about Labov's views on the importance of linguistic research having an impact on our society, an issue close to our hearts at Babel. Labov said, "I think there is an obligation to pay back if you have made a profit from studying the human race".
William Labov has done just that by setting up the Penn Reading Initiative, which stems from his research in that it emphasises that children should get meaning, engagement and enjoyment from learning to read, and should not be forced to conform to standard pronunciation.
Read the interview in full in Issue 5 of Babel, out in early November. If you don't want to miss out, subscribe now.