William Labov Named 2013 Franklin Institute Laureate

John H. and Margaret B. Fassitt Professor William Labov has been selected as a 2013 recipient of a Benjamin Franklin Medal award by The Franklin Institute.John H. and Margaret B. Fassitt Professor William Labov has been selected as a 2013 recipient of a Benjamin Franklin Medal award by The Franklin Institute. The linguistics professor is one of eight Laureates chosen from the fields of science, engineering and technology. He will be recognized for “establishing the cognitive basis of language variation and change through rigorous analysis of linguistic data, and for the study of non-standard dialects with significant social and cultural implications."

Labov’s research focuses on the social stratification of language and the forces governing linguistic change in progress. He co-edits Language Variation and Change and the Journal of Dialect Geography. A two-time Guggenheim Fellow, Labov has authored Language in the Inner City, Principles of Linguistic Change, and the Atlas of North American English.  He developed The Reading Road, a tutorial program for struggling readers, and has been a senior author of Houghton-Mifflin’s Portals, an intervention program for raising reading levels in low-income schools, since 1997.

In addition to his faculty appointment, Labov serves as the director of the Linguistics Laboratory. He has previously served as president of the Linguistic Society of America and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Labov joined Penn’s faculty in 1971. He will receive his award on April 25, 2013 at The Franklin Institute.

Among science’s highest honors, The Franklin Institute Awards identify individuals whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry and deepened understanding of the universe.

Watch William Labov’s Arts and Sciences 60-Second Lecture.