Patricia Cukor-Avila

Patricia Cukor-Avilla



  • PhD, University of Michigan, 1995
  • MA, Texas A&M University, 1984
  • BA, Texas A&M University, 1977

Research Interests

Linguistic variation and change, specifically grammatical change over time in African American English; language across the lifespan; linguistic stereotyping and accent discrimination

Dr. Cukor-Avila's research focuses on the study of linguistic variation and change, specifically grammatical change over time in African American English. Her longitudinal study (1988-present) of a rural Texas community has provided much of the data for presentations and articles concerning approaches to sociolinguistic fieldwork, transmission and diffusion, language change over the lifespan, as well as documenting innovations in African American English. She is coeditor (with Guy Bailey and Natalie Maynor) of The Emergence of Black English: Text and Commentary (1991) and author of several articles and book chapters.

Patricia is also interested in regional variation in American English and how regional accents play a role in how we judge people — linguistic stereotyping and accent discrimination. She is currently conducting cross-disciplinary research with a team of undergraduate and graduate students in linguistics and Dr. Chetan Tiwari (UNT Geography) on a perceptual dialectology project mapping how people living in Texas perceive dialect regions within the state and their attitudes about these perceived regions. She is also working on similar research in Korea with Lisa Jeon (Rice University).

Patricia has an MA in Spanish from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. Before coming to UNT in 1994, Patricia taught Spanish, adult ESL, and she was also an ESL/Bilingual teacher in Conroe ISD. At UNT she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in linguistics (sociolinguistics, language and gender, English language in America, research methods) and ESL (ESL methods, pedagogical grammar, practicum in ESL). Patricia is also coauthor and co-designer with her colleague, Shobhana Chelliah, of two award-winning online introductory linguistics classes.