John Baugh

Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Anthropology, Education, English, Linguistics, and African and African-American Studies
​Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
MSSH, University of Pennsylvania
BA, Temple University
research interests:
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language, Equity and Environmental Change
  • Linguistic Profiling
  • Econolinguistics
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1109
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
image of book cover

Professor Baugh is a renowned linguistics expert who has published extensively in that field, as well as in legal affairs, sociology and urban studies.

Professor Baugh's primary research interest has been the social stratification of linguistic behavior in multicultural and multilingual nations. Initial interest in this area began with quantitative and experimental studies of linguistic variation among African Americans. These studies evolved into applied linguistic research devoted to policy issues in medicine, education, and law. Gradually his analyses expanded to include populations who suffered various forms of linguistic discrimination, including deaf communities, as well as speakers of languages or dialects who lack fluency in the dominant linguistic norms of their respective societies.

Most of Professor Baugh's research is interdisciplinary, drawing extensively upon related work in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, linguistics, and sociology. These experimental investigations are tailored to have practical applications whenever possible. Recently he has conducted studies of linguistic profiling over the telephone, where callers seeking housing or other goods and services face discrimination due to stereotypes about their speech. Very often these discriminatory acts have legal implications in civil and criminal court cases.

In addition to his linguistic research, Professor Baugh is a faculty member within the African and African-American Studies department, which strives to advance distinguished scholarship of and by people of African descent regardless of academic discipline. 

Selected Publications

  • 1983 Black Street Speech: Its History, Structure and Survival. Austin : University of Texas Press.
  • 1999 Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • 2000 Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice. New York : Oxford University Press.
  • In Press (with H. Samy Alim) Black Language, Education, and Social Change. New York : Teachers College Press.
     

Courses

  • The Linguistic Legacy of the African Slave Trade in Interdisciplinary Perspective
Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice

Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice

As a black child growing up in inner-city neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, John Baugh witnessed racial discrimination at a young age and began to notice correlations between language and race. While attending college he worked at a Laundromat serving African Americans who were often subjected to mistreatment by the police. His observations piqued his curiosity about the ways that linguistic diversity might be related to the burgeoning Civil Rights movement for racial equality in America. Baugh pursued these ideas whilst traveling internationally only to discover alternative forms of linguistic discrimination in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and South America. He coined the phrase 'linguistic profiling' based on experimental studies of housing discrimination, and expanded upon those findings to promote equity in education, employment, medicine and the law. This book is the product of the culmination of these studies, devoted to the advancement of equality and justice globally.