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Erica Benson, Ph.D.

Erica Benson
  • Executive Director
  • Professor
  • English

While still in high school, Dr. Benson discovered that she loved to travel, teach, and learn. Thus, she uprooted herself time and again to live in several U.S. states (Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and now Wisconsin) and two foreign countries (Germany and Poland) – and traveled to many more – supporting herself by teaching composition, English as a second/foreign language, and linguistics; training pre-service and in-service English teachers; and taking other odd jobs. While traveling and teaching, she studied at four universities, three institutes, and earned her degrees. Alas, she has now settled down and has the good fortune to live in a beautiful area in Eau Claire, where she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, yoga (she is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance), and hiking.

Recent Publications:
  • with Robert Bayley (eds). Needed Research in North American Dialects. American Dialect Society Monograph 108. Duke University Press. forthcoming.
  • with Anneli Williams. Crossing the line: Effect of border representation in perceptual dialectology. Journal of Linguistic Geography. 2022.
  • with Betsy Evans, and James Stanford (eds.). Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change. Cambridge University Press. 2018. (Paperback 2020).
  • with Megan L. Risdal. Variation in language attitudes: Sociolinguistic receptivity and acceptability of linguistic features. Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change. Evans, Betsy; Erica J. Benson, and James Stanford. Cambridge University Press. 
  • with Theresa Kemp, Angela Pirlott, Casey Coughlin, Quinn Forss, and Laura Becherer. Developing a Non-Sexist/Non-Gendered Language Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Feminist Teacher. 2014.
  • Need + prepositional adverb in the Midland: Another feature needs in. Journal of English Linguistics 40(3).224-255. 2012.
  • with Michael J. Fox & Jared Balkman. The bag that Scott bought: The low vowels in northwest Wisconsin. American Speech 86(3).271-311. 2011.
  • Everyone Wants In: want + prepositional adverb in the Midland and Beyond. Journal of English Linguistics. 37(1).28-60. (22% acceptance rate). 2009.

Teaching Interests
  • Introductory Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language Change
  • Language and Gender
  • History of the English Language
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Language Attitudes
Research and Creative Activities
  • American Dialects
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Language Regard
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University (Linguistics)
  • M.A., University of South Carolina (Linguistics)
  • Graduate Certificate, University of South Carolina (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
  • B.A., University of South Florida