My original vision for this project was to make a website showcasing the work I have been doing in collaboration with my colleagues in the Sociolinguistics Lab at MSU. We’ve been documenting speech in the Greater Lansing Area over the last few years and have come across some unexpected trends…speech in Lansing is moving away from the prototypical rust-belt dialect and towards a more western (maybe Californian) dialect!
The website was going to showcase these facts. My earlier vision also included showcasing the sociolinguistics literature and previous findings regarding the Michigan dialect, commenting on how variationists like myself usually differentiate between dialects. This then turned into having to describe (socio)linguistic theory and Bill Labov and vowel formants and standardization and OMG. Waaay too much information.
Needless to say, I had a talk with myself and decided that I should just stick to the facts. The stuff people, linguists and non-linguists alike, care about. So, for better or for worse, my website is much simpler than originally planned, but I think it’s for the best. No one wants to read the equivalent of a novel when they visit a website, right? Right!