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Christine Mallinson

Professor of Language, Literacy & Culture; Director, Center for Social Science Scholarship, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

About Christine

Mallinson's research examines the intersections of language, culture, and educational practices in the United States. Overarching themes in Mallinson's work include understanding language as a cultural artifact; how differences in language use can reveal the identities of different social groups; how English (and language in general) changes over time; how to apply linguistic knowledge to solve educational disparities in the U.S., especially those along the lines of race, class, gender, and region of origin; how to dismantle deficit notions surrounding cultural and linguistic difference; and how to cultivate a sense of linguistic agency in ways that empower speakers and communities while informing policy.

Mallinson regularly gives talks and workshops across the U.S. to schools and school groups, educators, community groups, clinical psychologists, social workers, and lawyers and judges. She also maintains, a multimedia blog about linguistic diversity in Baltimore city. Mallinson currently serves as the chair of the Ethics Committee of the Linguistic Society of America.


In the News

Research discussed by Lila MacLellan, in "The Trends That May End the 'Y’all' vs 'You Guys' Debate," Quartz, November 26, 2019.
Research discussed by Ben Zimmer, in "How Home-State Pronunciations Can Shape Elections," The Atlantic, March 31, 2018.
Interviewed in "The Revelatory Power of Language," Maryland Humanities' Humanities Connection, April 14, 2017.
Quoted by Brittany Britto in "Hold up, 'Hon': Baltimore's Black Vernacular Youthful, Dynamic If Less Recognized Than 'Bawlmerese'," The Baltimore Sun, February 10, 2017.
Guest on NPR's Code Switch, April 24, 2013.


"Language and Its Everyday Revolutionary Potential: Feminist Linguistic Activism in the United States" in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism, edited by olly McCammon, Verta Taylor, Jo Reger, and Rachel L. Einwohner (Oxford University Press, 2017), 419-439.

This chapter describes historical and contemporary efforts of U.S. feminist activists have engaged in English language reform efforts as a powerful tool for social change. The chapter explores three main types of English/U.S.-based feminist linguistic activism: challenging man-made language forms, creating and institutionalizing egalitarian naming practices, and engaging in radical linguistic disruptions.

"Rural Voices: Language, Identity, and Social Change across Place (Studies in Urban–Rural Dynamics)" (with Elizabeth Seale) (Lexington Books, 2018).

This interdisciplinary volume explores the intersections of language, culture, and identity for rural populations across the globe. Challenging stereotypical views of rural backwardness and urban progress, sociologists and sociolinguists reveal how language is a key mechanism for constructing the meaning of places and the people who identify with them.

"We Do Language: English Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom" (with Anne H. Charity Hudley) (Teachers College Press, 2013).

Presents linguistically informed teaching strategies and provides information about the social, cultural, and linguistic dimensions of language variation, in order to build students’ and teachers’ linguistic awareness. With this information, secondary English educators can more fully understand, respect, and meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students and ensure their academic success.