Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Linguistic Theory & Typology

First Advisor

Dr. Allison Burkette


This thesis argues for the relevance of the Linguistic Atlas Project (LAP) for studies of language ideologies, indexicality, and enregisterment. The LAP represents the largest dialect survey of North American English to date, offering an abundance of historical linguistic data for research in dialectology, linguistic geography, and variation over space and time. Additionally, the LAP also contains additional sources of sociolinguistic data, including informant biographies — documents written by fieldworkers at the conclusion of the LAP interview that summarize an informant’s demographic profile, as well as their personality, speech, and caliber as an interviewee. Rife with subjective judgments from the fieldworker, informant biographies present the opportunity for the study of language ideologies in the LAP. This thesis performs a qualitative discourse analysis of 583 informant biographies collected as part of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS). Focusing on analysis of pragmatic features, this study reveals the ways that language ideologies, indexicality, and enregisterment are encoded into informant biographies and the LAP more broadly. This analysis suggests that linguistic data in the LAP can be understood as products of an indexical, ideological, and enregistered negotiation of language and identity, co-constructed between informants and fieldworkers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)