Susan Tamasi

Susan Tamasi

Director, Program in Linguistics
Professor of Pedagogy, Program in Linguistics
Associated Faculty, Department of Anthropology

Ph. D. in Linguistics
University of Georgia, 2003

OFFICE: Modern Languages Bldg, Rm 208
PHONE: 404-727-7843

Professor Tamasi, a specialist in sociolinguistics, began teaching in the Program in Linguistics in 2002. Her connection to Emory, however, goes back to the early 1990s when she was an undergraduate pursuing a major in Russian and a minor in Soviet, Post-Soviet, and East European Studies. She is widely recognized by students and colleagues as a stellar instructor, and regularly teaches courses such as Linguistics 101 History of the American Languages, Linguistics 385 Languages of the World, and Linguistics 333 Language, Gender and Sexuality. She also serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Program in Linguistics.

Professor Tamasi's specialty is in American English dialects -- their structure, development, and connections with social and political issues. Within this field, her research focuses on two primary areas. The first explores the attitudes and perceptions that nonlinguists have about variation in language. Her work in this area shows that people categorize their knowledge of language in patterned, culturally-determined ways and that the conceptual organization of language reveals a complex, interrelated network of both structural and social information. This information is used to examine the interaction between language attitudes and linguistic prejudice and discrimination. She has also examined the levels of linguistic (in)security presented by speakers in areas of stigmatized speech, such as the Southeastern United States and New Jersey.

Prof. Tamasi's second and more recent area of interest is health communication. She is presently participating in a project on health literacy in collaboration with Sunil Kripalani in the Emory School of Medicine. In this study, she is studying the impact of language and dialect variation in the administration of health literacy tests and during interactions between health care providers and patients. For example, patients who use nonstandard, local pronunciations are commonly viewed as not being able to understand basic health information or make appropriate health decisions.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF format)

Courses taught

LING 101 History of the American Languages
LING 242 Languages of the World (same as ANT 242)
LING 333 Language, Gender and Sexuality (same as ANT325, WS 333)
LING 340 Language and Social Interaction (same as ANT 340)
LING 350 Health Communication
LING 401 Language, Mind and Society