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Sonja Launspach

Sonja Launspach

Professor of English

Office: LA 220



PhD, Linguistics (1998), University of South Carolina

MA, Linguistics (1995), University of South Carolina

BA, German Language and Literature (1982), Washington University

BFA, Graphic Design (1982), Washington University

Research Interests

I am a sociolinguist and as a sociolinguist, I study how language is used in everyday contexts and social situations. My research interests include conversation analysis, discourse analysis, narrative, dialect studies and studying writing through a linguistics lens. I've recently become interested in the intersection between linguistics and pedagogy. I teach the linguistics courses for our majors, courses in the TESOL certificate program and co-direct the interdepartmental linguistics minor.


Launspach S., & Aull, L. (2020). A Case-based Approach to Argumentative Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Selected Publications

2021 "Conflicting ideologies: Language diversity in the composition classroom." In G. Clements & M. Petray (Eds.), Linguistic Discrimination in U.S. Higher Education: Power, Prejudice, Impacts, and Remedies. Routledge.

2017 "Making the Case: The case method, motivation, and the teaching of argument." Co-author, Angela Petit. Teaching English in the Two Year College 44:4.

2017 "Stories and objects: Narrative and the construction of connective links in the American quilting guild." Book chapter in Narrative, Identity, and Academic Community in Higher Education. (Eds.) Brian Attebery, John Gribas, Mark K. McBeth, Paul Sivitz, and Kandi Turley-Ames. New York: Routledge.

2016 "Exemplar narratives: Resources for maintaining solidarity and upholding group standards in an American Quilting Guild." Text and Talk 36:2. 179-197.

2013 "'That really was a good method for beginners:' How narratives are used to situate objects and techniques in a quilting guild." Narrative Inquiry. Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 262-282.

2012 "The journey to Idaho: The use of oral history tapes and census data to trace the history of dialect features." Idaho Yesterdays. Vol. 53, No. 1 & 2.

2008 "The Role of Talk in Small Writing Groups: Building declarative and procedural knowledge for basic writers." Journal of Basic Writing. Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 93-117.

2003 "Compliments and self deprecatory assessments: A quilter's resource in the co-construction of performance events." RASK International Journal of Language and Communication. No. 18, Spring 2003.

2000 "Literal or Loose Talk: The Negotiation of Meaning on an Internet Discussion List." Words on the Web: Computer Mediated Communication. Ed. by Lyn Pemberton and Simon Schurville. Exeter, UK: Intellect Ltd.

2000 "Beyond Grammar: Linguistics in the Composition Classroom" with Martha Thomas. In our Own Voice: Graduate Students Teach Writing. Ed. by Tina Good and Leanne Warshauer. New York: Allyn Bacon.

Courses Taught

6685: Seminar in Linguistics

6681: Theory of Second Language Acquisition

6680: Introduction to Linguistics

4488/5588: Introduction to Sociolinguistics

4484/5584: Rotating Topics in Linguistics

4480/5580: Varieties of American English

2281: Introduction to Language Studies

2280: Grammar and Usage

1102: Writing and Rhetoric II

1101: Writing and Rhetoric I