Shane Taylor (they/them) is an M.A. Candidate in Linguistics at San Diego State University where they also completed their B.A.s in Linguistics and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies. Their research examines how gender and sexuality intersect with other aspects of identity and how this interacts with their speech, how that speech is perceived, and how these elements are employed to create/maintain identity. Outside of academia, Shane is also very involved in the Queer community as a member of several non-profit charities. These organizations are not only opportunities to serve the community through outreach and education, but are also direct connections to the populations they study. For more information, or to connect with Shane, contact them through their LinkedIn profile.

The LSA Member Spotlight highlights the interests and accomplishments of a different LSA member each month. Click here to see previous Member Spotlights.

When did you first join the LSA?

I joined in the fall of 2016, when I first began studying linguistics at SDSU.

How have you been involved with the LSA since you joined?

I started working directly with the LSA as the summer 2019 student intern. As far as beginnings go, I couldn’t have asked for better. I got to participate in the inner workings of a major academic society and gain a much deeper appreciation for the work that comes out of our relatively small secretariat. The following semester I joined the pilot of the LSA Student Ambassadors program which seeks to bolster student participation in the LSA. This is an excellent hub of resources and connections for students. Later, I attended my first LSA annual meeting in January 2000 where I managed the social media updates. There is nothing quite like your first annual meeting. I made many friends during “hallway conversations” and learned about the Committee on LGBTQ+ [Z] Issues in Linguistics (COZIL) which I am now a member of. I returned this year as one of the student volunteers managing the 2021 annual meeting social media.

What are you currently researching/working on?

I am in my final semester at SDSU, completing my master’s thesis which focuses on sociophonetic variation in queer men. I am examining how speakers alternate between representations of themselves via speech, how this might be tailored to the discourse context, and whether the use of sociolinguistic repertoire through style shifts present in sociolinguistic interviews. I also include discussion of whether cross-linguistic effects impede indexicality or are realized as a component of style shift.

What advice would you give to undergraduate students interested in pursuing an advanced degree in linguistics?

Because linguistics is such a large field and integrated into many other disciplines, I recommend students get as broad an exposure as possible in their early academic careers. It is important to see the full scale of linguistics and all that one can do with it. Once they have sampled as much as possible, I’d say find your niche and dig in. Along these lines, I would recommend casting a wide net. You never know what opportunities or experiences can come from even the most unassuming places. Just because something doesn’t seem precisely like “your type of linguistics,” that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing.

What, in your opinion, is the most important service the LSA provides to its members? To the field?

I think the most significant impact the LSA has on the field is the opportunity to connect. Linguistics departments are often small or even tucked into other departments. This means that the campus experience can feel somewhat limited, particularly for students. The LSA provides opportunities for even the most specialized researchers to connect and collaborate. What’s more, it facilitates the pooling of resources and promotes the growth of the field as a whole.