About us

What’s the Chicagoland Language Project?

The Chicagoland Language Project is researching the diversity of language and life in the Chicago area. We’re a team of linguists from Northwestern University, and we’re aiming to interview lots of people born and raised in the area, beginning with Chicagoans who grew up in and/or currently live in Beverly and Morgan Park.

Chicagoland Language Project researchers plan to visit a variety of Chicago neighborhoods, suburbs, or community areas, one at a time. We want to hear about life in Chicago in Chicagoans’ own words. In particular, we’re interested in people’s experiences in the communities they grew up and live in, and their thoughts about the rest of Chicago. And as the name of our project suggests, we’re trying to learn whether there are particularly “Chicago” ways of speaking English, whether these are changing over time, and how language is connected to people’s life experiences, histories, and perspectives in the area. To learn more about our interviews, click here.

Who are we?

We’re a team of researchers from the Department of Linguistics at Northwestern University, led by Professor Annette D’Onofrio. As linguists, we’re interested in the scientific study of language — how it’s structured, how it can vary, and how it’s used in social practice. We’re involved in the Chicagoland Language Project because we’re particularly interested in how differences in how people speak (their “accents”) correspond to what social groups they belong to, the ways they view the world, and their identities. If you’d like to learn more about us, or about the project, you can e-mail Annette at donofrio@northwestern.edu .

Why Beverly and Morgan Park?

To kick off our project, we’ve chosen the Beverly and Morgan Park area because of its social diversity and its rich history as a Chicago community area. We’re interested in learning about the experiences of native Chicagoans who grew up in and/or currently live in Beverly or Morgan Park, especially those who are life-long residents of these neighborhoods.In 2017, we interviewed over 60 participants!  We are continuing to collect interviews in 2018 to diversify our sample in terms of age, race/ethnicity and gender. If this sounds like you, click here to sign up to participate.