How do social factors shape our use of language, and how does language use in turn impact our construction and perception of society? A sociolinguist, Thomas Leddy-Cecere addresses these questions through his research in Arabic and contemporary American English.
Leddy-Cecere is a scholar of language variation and language change. His research addresses the ways in which language reflects and reveals social relationships, both past and present, and utilizes a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to search for evidence of these relationships in variable linguistic behavior. His recent work has focused on interaction between speakers of related language varieties, and has involved studies of New England English and multiple dialects of modern Arabic. These projects have involved extensive fieldwork in Egypt and with speakers of both Arabic and English across the United States, and inhabit the intersections of sociolinguistics with other subfields including contact linguistics, historical linguistics, and language documentation. Leddy-Cecere's work has appeared in the journals American Speech and Al-‘Arabiyya and has been supported by the National Science Foundation.
Beyond his scholarship, he is also passionate about encouraging students to put their hard-earned skills to use in serving immediate needs in their communities. From 2015-2018, Leddy-Cecere coordinated the University of Texas at Austin’s Refugee Student Mentor Program, pairing UT undergraduates with recently arrived refugee students in Austin’s public school system to provide academic and language support. He previously instructed at the University of Texas at Austin and joins the Bennington faculty in Fall 2018.