John Baugh

Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences; Professor, Linguistics

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Baugh is a renowned linguistics expert who has published extensively in that field, as well as in legal affairs, sociology and urban studies. His work bridges theoretical and applied linguistics, particularly in relation to policy and social equity.

Baugh has conducted extensive research regarding the social stratification of linguistic diversity and is actively engaged in ongoing research that examines the evolution and dissemination of English and other European languages in post-colonial contexts throughout the world. He is a past president of the American Dialect Society and a member of the usage advisory committee for the American Heritage English Dictionary. Baugh has also served as consultant on several documentary films related to American language and as an expert witness in court cases where matters of voice recognition and language attitudes have been central.

In the media


Baugh selected as Bellagio Center resident scholar

Baugh selected as Bellagio Center resident scholar

John Baugh, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences, will begin research for a new book on linguistic profiling as part of an April 2016 scholar-in-residence program at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center on Lake Como in Italy.

Baugh named fellow of Linguistic Society of America

John G. Baugh, PhD, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of 10 distinguished scholars to be honored as 2015 fellows of the Linguistic Society of America.   

Learning about diversity in recruitment, hiring and retention​​

On March 26, the Campus Diversity Collaborative and Human Resources Department teamed up to offer a panel discussion in College Hall on “Diversity in Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention: Challenges and Resources.” More than 80 staff and faculty members heard from panelists who discussed their research expertise and professional experience related to diversity and inclusion.

Current presidential campaign is becoming “hyper-racial,” says expert

Observing that the current presidential campaign is becoming “hyper-racial,” a noted linguist and African American studies expert at Washington University in St. Louis suggests voters participate in a “linguistic thought experiment” to determine the extent that candidates are able to discuss race or gender on the campaign trail.

Linguistic profiling conference on campus

The Linguistic Profiling and Linguistic Human Rights conference will be held on campus April 28-29. Sponsored by African and African American Studies in Arts & Sciences and the Ford Foundation, the conference will explore issues surrounding legal considerations of linguistic profiling, fair housing, language restriction on the job and racial, sexual and deaf discrimination, among others.

Linguistic profiling: The sound of your voice may determine if you get that apartment or not

Many Americans can guess a caller’s ethnic background from their first hello on the telephone. Can the sound of your voice be used against you?However, the inventor of the term “linguistic profiling” has found that when a voice sounds African-American or Mexican-American, racial discrimination may follow. In studying this phenomenon through hundreds of test phone calls, John Baugh, Ph.D., the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor and director of African and African American Studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has found that many people made racist, snap judgments about callers with diverse dialects. Some potential employers, real estate agents, loan officers and service providers did it repeatedly, he says. Long before they could evaluate callers’ abilities, accomplishments, credit rating, work ethic or good works, they blocked callers based solely on linguistics.


Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice

Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice

This book is the culmination of John Baugh’s studies on linguistic discrimination, that addresses how speakers of dialects, foreign language speakers, the deaf, people who sound like they belong to a racial minority and others are discriminated against linguistically.