• Who are we?
    • We are a group of UNC students and faculty that are interested in studying the Karen language and culture. We’re interested in adding to the knowledge of the Karen community as well as the academic community.
  • How does our work aid the Karen community?
    • History
      • Our studies collect audio recordings of the language(s) spoken by the Karen community. These audio recordings will be stored at UNC for the benefit of future Karen as well as future researchers. Languages change significantly over time, so it is important to collect samples of speech early on.
    • Academic Awareness
      • This language group has not been studied in great detail; past attempts at study have been sporadic and conflicting information. Through our study, we seek to resolve some of these conflicts through thorough analysis and maintaining a healthy database of speech samples. We hope that further research will not only shed some light on the nature of the language, but will generate interest in a wider study of this language in the academic and non-academic communities.
    • Tools for the community
      • In addition to our research, our group has sought to help the local Karen community by creating tools from the collected resources. We are currently working on a Karen-English dictionary and are also seeking to create resources that would be useful for teaching Karen to non-native speakers.
  • How can you help?
    • Participate!
      • We will be accepting participants for these studies until September 20th, 2016. We would love to have you add your voice and story!
    • Spread the word!
      • Have a friend or colleague that might be interested in participating? Put us in contact with them!
  • Resources
    • A S’gaw Karen – English dictionary created during the Field Methods course can be found here.
    • Several papers prepared by students during the Field Methods in Linguistics class are available here: FieldMethodsSgawKarenPapers.
    • Presentations and publications:

      Boehm, Jennifer (2017). “Dialect Contact and Increased Interspeaker Variation in S’gaw Karen.” Presented at the Southeast Conference in Linguistics. Charleston, March.

      Boehm, Jennifer (2016). “Regional and Generational Effects in S’gaw Karen Dialects: A Phonetic Analysis.” Poster. Presented at the Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C. January.

      Boehm, Jennifer (2015). “The Evolution of S’gaw Karen in the Diaspora.” Presented at the Interdisciplinary Conference in Linguistics. Athens, October.

      Boehm, Jennifer (2015). “An Acoustic Dialectal Analysis of S’gaw Karen in North Carolina.” Presented at the Southeast Conference in Linguistics. Raleigh, April.

      Boehm, Jennifer (2015). “A Phonetic Analysis of S’gaw Karen Dialects Among Refugees in North Carolina.” Presented at UNC Academic Research Conference. Chapel Hill, March.

      Boehm, Jennifer; Moeng, Emily; Reynolds, Amy (2015). “Modeling English phonological structures: A case study of frequency effects in S’gaw Karen speakers.” Presented at the Southeast Conference in Linguistics. Raleigh, April.

      Boehm, Jennifer, and Amy Reynolds (2017). “Generational Language Shift and the Linguistic Landscape: Refugee Language and Vitality.” Presented at the Southeast Conference in Linguistics. Charleston, March.

      Moeng, Emily, Jennifer Boehm, & Amy Reynolds (2016). Modeling the
      interlanguage: The effect of frequency in the L2 acquisition of English consonant clusters. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working papers, 35-48. Available from: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/90359.

      Reynolds, Amy (2017). “Karen English: Refugee Life and Language in America.” 91st Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), January 7th.

      Reynolds, Amy (2015).  “Karen English: An emergent language community in the American South”. Linguistics Society of the University of Georgia (LSUGA) 2, October 9th.

      Reynolds, Amy (2015). “Karen English: A new American Southern Language Community”. Southeastern Conference of Linguistics (SECOL) 82, April 9-11th.

      Reynolds, Amy, and Jen Bohm (2017). “Generational Language Shift and the Linguistic Landscape: Refugee Language and Vitality.” Southeastern Conference of Linguistics (SECOL) 84, March 6 – 10th.

      Salgado, Hugo, & Jessica Slavic (2014). “The Phonetics of Rare Sounds: Production and Perception of Aspirated Fricatives in Sgaw Karen”. Talk presented at Berkeley Linguistics Society. University of California, Berkeley, February 7-9.

      Salgado, Hugo, Jessica Slavic, Zhao Ye (2013). “The Production of Aspirated Fricatives in Sgaw Karen”. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2013: 148-161.