Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain: Academic details

Current Academic Position:

I am a Professor of German and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. I have been teaching at the University of Alberta since 1997.


I was educated in the United States, receiving bachelor's degrees in German and Linguistics at Michigan State University in East Lansing and a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I taught German for six years at the University of Michigan during my graduate education before coming to the U of A.


I mostly teach courses on German linguistics and applied linguistics, though sometimes I also teach German language courses. I also teach a introductory undergraduate course in English called Language and Power. I teach at all levels, from beginning undergraduate to advanced graduate, and I have supervised both honours undergraduate and graduate students working on all sorts of languages. (If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies under my supervision, please have a look at the page for my department's graduate programmes to see whether the department might suit you.)


Although the bulk of my work is on German, I have also done quite a bit of research on English (taking advantage of not having to travel as far to do fieldwork/interviews!), and continue that alongside my work on German. More recently, I have also begun doing research on Dutch. While I have worked within many different topic areas, methodologies and sociolinguistic traditions, and several different languages and dialects, a major interest that unifies everything I've done is the link between language use and larger societal phenomena like ideology, identity, and globalization.

Besides my doctoral dissertation on the perception of language variation in post-unification Germany, I've also worked on projects on the role of motivation in the acquisition of German, sociolinguistic stereotypes in Disney animated films, "Canadian raising" in the U.S. city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the sociolinguistic distribution of and attitudes toward the discourse marker and quotative 'like' in American English, language use among migrants from western to eastern Germany, and code-switching in the advanced foreign-language classroom (the last two of which were joint projects with Dr Grit Liebscher from the University of Waterloo). The results of Dr Liebscher's and my third joint project, focusing this time on issues of language, identity and space among German-Canadians (using data drawn from the Kitchener-Waterloo and Edmonton areas), were published in Palgrave MacMillan's Language and Globalization series in 2013 under the title Language, Space, and Identity in Migration. My most recent project was a study of the differential use of English within online conversations of German youth on the one hand and Dutch youth on the other, and what these differences can tell us about language and globalization. The culmination of this project was a book entitled Trans-National English in Social Media Communities that was published in Palgrave MacMillan's Language and Globalization series in 2017.

For more information, see my full curriculum vitae.

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