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William Labov is a professor in the linguistics department of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from Harvard College and working as an industrial chemist, he received a doctorate in linguistics from Columbia University with a dissertation on the class differences in the dialect of New York City. His interviewing techniques, his quantitative methods measuring change and his methods for identifying crucial spoken sounds have been applied to many studies of other cities. This work, and his subsequent work on the nonstandard English dialects spoken in Harlem, established his position as a founder of the discipline of quantitative sociolinguistics and social dialectology. In 1971, he became a professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and, in 1977, director of the university's Linguistics Laboratory.

Additional information on Professor Labov can be found at:

An interview was conducted with Professor Labov at MIT on July 20, 2005, by Dr. Janet Baker. The text of this interview has not yet been transcribed, but a brief excerpt of the recorded interview is available.

Brief excerpt of recorded interview.

History of Speech and Language Technology Project, Saras Institute / c/o Janet Baker, 173 Highland Street, West Newton, MA 02465, USA

Email: <Janet_Baker AT email DOT com>