Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania
Suzanne Evans Wagner conducts research on the social motivations of language variation and language change. She is primarily interested in post-adolescent sociolinguistic modification at all levels of the grammar, and in how change over the individual lifespan interacts with language change at the community level. Some of her work has investigated ongoing sound change in the Lansing, Michigan area. More recently, she has been collaborating with her Linguistics colleague and MSU Sociolinguistics Lab co-director Dr. Betsy Sneller on the MI Diaries project, investigating language change across the entire state. Dr. Wagner’s work has been published in Language Variation and Change, Language in Society, American Speech and Language and Linguistics Compass, among other venues. With Isabelle Buchstaller, she is series editor of Routledge Studies in Language Change, and a co-editor of Panel Studies of Variation and Change.
The MI Diaries (‘Michigan Diaries’) project has been collecting informal self-recorded audio ‘diaries’ from children, youth, and adults in Michigan since 2020. Participants receive a weekly email, tailored for their age group, with thoughtful, funny, or story-eliciting questions they can respond to if they wish, such as What are you grateful for this week?, Was there ever a time when you got really lost somewhere?, and Would you rather have three arms or three legs? The growing collection of audio and transcripts contribute to research in the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab and to an eventual public archive at the Library of Michigan.