Welcome

Amy Reynolds is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of North Carolina, where she investigates the history and development of English consonant clusters. Amy’s interest in second language acquisition and English dialect history manifests in her recent talks and publications on the development of a new variety of English in the Karen refugee population. Her interest in linguistic diversity within the academy has led Amy to work as a founding member of the Linguistics Outreach Group and as a research assistant in the Sounds of Diversity Initiative at UNC.

Research

In her research, Amy has traveled across the country to record the oral histories and experiences of Karen refugees, an ethnic group from Burma. Through analyzing their speech, she hopes to identify how mental processes and social factors influence second language acquisition and to aid in helping English as a Second Language (ESL) learners integrate more smoothly. She also seeks to aid the Karen refugees in maintaining their cultural heritage through archiving and documenting the experiences of speakers for public awareness and future generations. She received Summer Research Fellowships from UNC’s Graduate School and the Center for the Study of the American South to pursue this research. She is currently working with Carolina Digital Humanities to create an archive of Karen interviews which will be available to the public. She hopes that this archive will help Americans better understand the refugee experience and serve as a resource for the Karen to maintain their language and cultural heritage.

Recent Presentations/Publications

2019. Amy Reynolds, Jennifer Boehm, and Becky Butler. “Migration Stories: Linguistics and Belonging Among Refugees from Burma.” Humanities for the Public Good Symposium, UNC-CH, May 3rd

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Teaching

English Composition and Rhetoric

As a teacher of English Composition and Rhetoric, Amy focuses on teaching students about how language and communication norms change dependent on social contexts. She encourages students in her classes to become aware of not only written communication norms, but verbal ones as well. This emphasis on multiple communication types helps students to better adapt and recognize new social conventions as they arise in written and verbal settings.

Class Website

Linguistics

When teaching Linguistics, Amy’s primary goal is for students to achieve a mastery and level of linguistic understanding and awareness that will continue beyond the classroom.

Sample Online Linguistics Lesson

Linguistics Outreach

Amy’s passion for linguistics and its application within and outside of academia has influenced her work as a collaborator on Migration Stories: Linguistics and Belonging among Refugees from Burma (funded by  Humanities for the Public Good), a founding and active member of the Linguistics Outreach Group, and a former research assistant for the Sound of Diversity Initiative. She has led and co-hosted presentations within the University and a local high school discussing the history and effect of grammatical standards and the importance of linguistic diversity awareness and acceptance. She has also supervised and instructed local refugee youth in oral history interview collection methods, providing them with the tools to explore, record, and develop their own cultural histories.