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David Durian

David Durian

Assistant Teaching Professor of English
Preferred Pronouns: He/His/Him
009 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Photo of David Durian

Spring 2024 Office Hours

M, W, and F 10:05 am to 10:55 am M 12:15 pm to 12:45 pm Also by Appointment (Please email me to arrange)

Curriculum Vitae


PhD, Linguistics (Sociolinguistics)--The Ohio State University
MA, Linguistics (General Linguistics)--The Ohio State University
MA, English (Rhetoric and Professional Writing)--Northern Illinois University
BA, English (Literature and Language)--Northern Illinois University

Professional Bio

I currently teach English 100: English Language Analysis--Linguistic Diversity in the USAEnglish 202A: Writing in the Social Sciences; English 202C: Technical Writing; and English 15: Rhetoric and Composition. I have been teaching college level courses since 2005, and before I came to Penn State, I taught at a variety of other colleges and universities located in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. These include Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, Northern Illinois University, College of DuPage, and Rice University, among others. Before that, I also spent nearly 5 years working as a technical editor and writer in the educational research industry. In 2010, I won an Undergraduate Teaching Award in Linguistics at OSU, based on my teaching of Linguistics and writing intensive courses.

I originally hail from the Chicagoland area, where I was raised and lived until I was 27 years old. Following that, I lived in Columbus, OH for almost 8 years while working on my PhD, before moving back to Chicagoland for another 6. My living in both of these areas, and now in central PA since 2018, has had a significant impact on my research in Linguistics.

In my research, I study accent variation in American English based on social factors such as socio-economic class, age, sex, and race among English-speaking working and middle class European and African Americans living in the United States. In doing so, I look at both current language use and also historical language use in American English during the late 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries. In addition, I focus on the interface of regional and social dialectology and urban geography in an attempt to explore further the social motivations for language variation and change in my data.

In my current research, I study present-day pronunciation variation in the vowel systems of middle and working class European and African American Americans living in three areas of the country: Columbus, OH, Chicago, IL, and Central Pennsylvania. I also study historical changes in pronunciation in each of these areas across the mid-19th Century, the entire 20th Century, and the beginning of the 21st Century, as reflected in the vowel systems of Columbusites, Chicagoans, and Central Pennsylvanians born throughout much of this time period. This work involves the instrumental, acoustic analysis of data, and draws on the theories from the fields of phonology, phonetics, and sociolinguistics to explain how and why the vowel variation and sound change occurs.

I also conduct research on the genre of scientific writing as it occurs in linguistic research, as well as how various rhetorical strategies are carried out in scientific writing. My MA Thesis, entitled "The Genre of the Linguistics Article within Studies of Language Variation and Change: A Diachronic Perspective, 1891-2015" looks at how the genre conventions of the research article have changed across time within the linguistic subfield of dialectology. In doing so, this research provides an intersection between my background in linguistics and my background in rhetoric and professional writing.

Areas of Specialization

Vowel variation and language change in 19th, 20th, and 21st Century American English

Language variation in African-American Vernacular English

Dialects of American English

Social science research writing

Technical editing and writing