Books from Stanford

Recent books from Stanford-connected authors, some my colleagues, some my former students (so I have warm feelings). Two in sociolinguistics / educational linguistics, one on the (gasp) morphosyntax-phonology interface.

The Alimosphere. The first two books share a contribution by my friend and colleague (also Stanford Ph.D.) H. Samy Alim, professor in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education (with courtesy appointments in Anthropology and Linguistics) and now director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford. Alim is wonderfully collaborative, as you can see from his list of published books before the two recent ones. In reverse chronological order:

H. Samy Alim, Awad Ibrahim & Alastair Pennycook (eds.) 2009. Global Linguistic Flows: Hip Hop Cultures, Youth Identities, and the Politics of Language. Routledge.

H. Samy Alim & John Baugh (eds.) 2007. Talkin Black Talk: Language, Education and Social Change. Teachers College Press, Columbia.

H. Samy Alim. 2006. Roc the Mic Right: The Language of Hip Hop Culture. Routledge.

James G. Spady, H. Samy Alim & Samir Meghelli. 2006. Tha Global Cipha: Hip Hop Culture and Consciousness. Philadelphia: Black History Museum.

H. Samy Alim. 2004. You Know My Steez: An Ethnographic and Sociolinguistic Study of Styleshifting in a Black American Speech Community. Duke.

To which we now add:

Django Paris & H. Samy Alim (eds.). 2017. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies. Teachers College Press, Columbia.

H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford & Arnetha Ball (eds.). 2016. Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race. Oxford.

Django Paris [PhD, Stanford, and once a student in my graduate Introduction to Linguistics course] is an associate professor of language and literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University.

John R. Rickford is my long-time friend and colleague in Linguistics at Stanford, and a sometime collaborator.

Arnetha F. Ball [PhD, Stanford] is a Professor in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Another long-time colleague.


From the publisher:

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies raises fundamental questions about the purpose of schooling in changing societies. Bringing together an intergenerational group of prominent educators and researchers, this volume engages and extends the concept of culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) — teaching that perpetuates and fosters linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of schooling for positive social transformation. The authors propose that schooling should be a site for sustaining the cultural practices of communities of color, rather than eradicating them. Chapters present theoretically grounded examples of how educators and scholars can support Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, South African, and immigrant students as part of a collective movement towards educational justice in a changing world.


From the publisher:

Raciolinguistics reveals the central role that language plays in shaping our ideas about race and vice versa. The book brings together a team of leading scholars — working both within and beyond the United States — to share powerful, much-needed research that helps us understand the increasingly vexed relationships between race, ethnicity, and language in our rapidly changing world. Combining the innovative, cutting-edge approaches of race and ethnic studies with fine-grained linguistic analyses, authors cover a wide range of topics including the struggle over the very term “African American,” the racialized language education debates within the increasing number of “majority-minority” immigrant communities in the U.S., the dangers of multicultural education in a Europe that is struggling to meet the needs of new migrants, and the sociopolitical and cultural meanings of linguistic styles used in Brazilian favelas, South African townships, Mexican and Puerto Rican barrios in Chicago, and Korean American “cram schools” in New York City, among other sites.

Taking into account rapidly changing demographics in the U.S and shifting cultural and media trends across the globe — from Hip Hop cultures, to transnational Mexican popular and street cultures, to Israeli reality TV, to new immigration trends across Africa and Europe — Raciolinguistics shapes the future of scholarship on race, ethnicity, and language. By taking a comparative look across a diverse range of language and literacy contexts, the volume seeks not only to set the research agenda in this burgeoning area of study, but also to help resolve pressing educational and political problems in some of the most contested raciolinguistic contexts in the world.

On to Gribanova/Shih (from Oxford, 2017):


Vera Gribanova [PhD, UCSC] is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University. Her research explores the principles that connect word and sentence structure to (morpho-phonological structure, primarily in Russian, Bulgarian and Uzbek.

Stephanie S. Shih [PhD, Stanford, and a former student of mine] is an Assistant Professor in Cognitive & Information Sciences at University of California, Merced. Her research centers on understanding how sound patterns interface with the larger linguistic and cognitive system, as informed by quantitative, corpus-based approaches to the study of natural language.

(I am grateful to Vera and Steph for having provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, which is way more expensive — it’s a technical volume with a small audience beyond libraries — than I can afford on my small pension.)

From the publisher:

The essays in this volume address a core question regarding the structure of linguistic systems: how much access do the grammatical components – syntax, morphology and phonology – have to each other? The book’s fifteen essays make a powerful argument in favor of a particular view of the interaction of these various components, shedding light on the nature of locality domains for allomorph selection, the morphosyntactic properties of the targets of phonological exponence, and adjudicating between competing theories of morphosyntax-phonology interaction. These words incorporate insights from recent theoretical developments such as Optimality Theory and Distributed Morphology, and insights made available to us by contemporary empirical methodologies, including field work and experimental and corpus-based quantitative work.

The first sentence here is reasonably straightforward, as long as you have some grasp of what’s meant by a component of grammar. But then we get into thickets of the details of particular theories of syntax, morphology, and phonology, and how they interface with one another. In any case, an examination of syntax, morphology, and phonology and how they interface with one another is exactly the focus of my work in theoretical linguistics. For an overview of the issues in this domain, see

Pullum & Zwicky, The syntax-phonology interface. 1988. In F. J. Newmeyer (ed.), Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey I.255-80. Available on-line here.

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