Professor Natalie Schilling
Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA

“If we approach language not as grammarians – as guardians of proper usage–but as scientists–as linguists–then we need to study human language as it really is, not how we think it should be.”


Natalie Schilling is a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She specializes in the study of language variation and change and how it is shaped by, and helps shape, social factors such as regionality, ethnicity and gender. She is particularly interested in stylistic (i.e. intra-speaker) variation and forensic linguistics. She directs the department’s ongoing sociolinguistic investigation of Language and Communication in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area (LCDC), as well as Smith Island Voices, a real and apparent time study of the endangered dialect community of Smith Island, Maryland.

Natalie is the author of Sociolinguistic Fieldwork (2013, Cambridge University Press), co-author (with Walt Wolfram) of American English: Dialects and Variation3rd edition (2016, Wiley-Blackwell), and co-editor (with J.K. Chambers) of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2ndedition (2013, Wiley-Blackwell). Her audio-video course English in America: A Linguistic History is part of The Great Courses lecture series.

Prof Natalie Schilling is an Ian Gordon Fellow and her attendance at iMean6 is supported by The Ian A. Gordon Fund and Victoria University Foundation.