Country Talk

Lauren Hall-Lew, Nola Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speakers of U.S. English varieties often invoke the term country to describe their own speech or the speech style of others. However, surprisingly little attention in linguistics has been given to "Country Talk". This article analyzes the metalinguistic comments elicited in language attitudes interviews with residents of a community on the border of Texas and Oklahoma who self-identify as speakers of Country Talk. The analysis shows how Country Talk is constructed through local discourses that are in dialogue with broader American language ideologies. The article argues that Country Talk has become enregistered through the circulation of indexical relations between imaginings of particular rural personae, on one hand, and particular linguistic features of Southern and nonstandard varieties of U.S. English, on the other. The analysis of Country Talk highlights the ideological nature of linguistic variation and calls for increased analytic attention to the social meaning of variation and the processes by which those meanings are produced and consumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-280
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of English Linguistics
Issue number3
Early online date10 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


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