2017 Emerging Scholar Award Winner

Daniel Duncan (New York University)
Understanding St. Louis’ love for Hoosier.

The 2016 Emerging Scholar Ward Committee is pleased to announce this year’s winner: Daniel Duncan from New York University. The title of Mr. Duncan’s submission is “Understanding St. Louis’ love for Hoosier.”


Danial Duncan is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at New York University. His work primarily focuses on language variation and change within suburbs in the United States, using the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area as a case study.


The name Hoosier (‘Indiana resident’) instead means ‘poor, rural, white trash’ in St. Louis (STL), Missouri (Murray 1987). This paper engages in discourse analysis of several texts to explore why its use persists despite less-localized alternatives (redneck, etc.) and why it would become enregistered (Agha 2003) as a feature of the local dialect. Findings show Hoosier is used to police behavior. Unlike similar slurs, its use requires knowledge of STL’s social geography. Hoosier allows speakers to demonstrate localness while positioning themselves and STL as cosmopolitan compared to the derided target. As such, the slur asserts positive values for St. Louisans.

Attendees of the upcoming ANS annual conference in January will have a chance to hear him present his research in person.

As the ESA award-winner, Mr. Duncan will receive a cash award as well as a mentor who will assist him in preparing his research manuscript for possible publication in a future issue of NAMES. Click here for more information about the award.

This year’s ESA Committee was made up of Dr. Jan Tent (committee chair), Dr. Mirko Casagranda, and Dr. Luisa Caiazzo.