Matthew Gordon used voice recordings of Missourians born as early as 1884 to study how our speech has changed since then.
Division of Research, Innovation & Impact
Matthew Gordon

Matthew Gordon, professor of English

Many Missourians — depending on where in the state they’re from or reside — don’t think they have an accent, but all of us say words and vowel sounds in certain ways that could be either subtly different or extremely unlike another Missourian. 

The way Missourians tend to talk is varied, and what’s more — it’s changing. Matthew Gordon, professor of English in the College of Arts and Science, is a sociolinguist who studies these changes in the way we speak over time, and his latest study was detailed in his most recent book, “The Origins of Missouri English,” in December. 

Co-authored with Christopher Strelluf, associate professor at the University of Warwick in England and Mizzou alumnus, the study uses voice recordings from an oral history project conducted for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri in the 1980s. The recordings feature Missourians born between the 1880s and the 1930s and demonstrate how the dialect landscape of Missouri has shifted since that time. 

Read a Q&A with Gordan to learn about this study, what he enjoys about the research process and what’s next for his work.