Penn Linguistics Professor William Labov Wins 2013 Franklin Institute Award

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@upenn.edu | 215-898-6460October 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA – William Labov, professor of linguistics and director of the Linguistics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, has won the Franklin Institute’s Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.                                                

Labov is one of eight 2013 Franklin Institute Award Laureates selected from the fields of science, engineering and technology. He is being honored for “establishing the cognitive basis of language variation and change through rigorous analysis of linguistic data, and for the study of non-standard dialects with significant social and cultural implications."                                                                                                                     

Labov’s research focuses on the social stratification of language and the forces governing linguistic change in progress. He has been a senior author of Houghton-Mifflin’s Portals, an intervention program for raising reading levels in low-income schools, since 1997.  With others, he published the Atlas of North American English in 2006.  Labov is co-editor of Language Variation and Change.  His major studies include The Social Stratification of English in New York City (1966), Sociolinguistic Patterns  (1972), Language in the Inner City  (1972) and Principles of Linguistic Change (1994, 2000).                                                   

Labov has served as president of the Linguistic Society of America and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his B.A from Harvard University in 1948 and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1964.                               

Labov will receive the Franklin Institute Award at a ceremony at the science museum on April 25.     

COVERAGE: Philadelphia Inquirer Penn linguist Labov wins Franklin Institute award

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