Published: April 16, 2021

Prof. Kira Hall has received a research grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a major international foundation for anthropological research, for her project “Accent Imitation on the Autism Spectrum.” The project investigates a phenomenon noted in descriptions of autistic symptoms but rarely discussed in scholarship: the prolonged and often fluent adoption of non-local or “foreign” dialect features. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with speakers on the autism spectrum who characterize themselves as having an accent, her study examines how autistic individuals understand, navigate, and cultivate their own atypical language practices. More specifically, it hypothesizes that the adoption of non-local accents may be understood as socially strategic imitation, whereby autistic individuals draw from non-local spacetimes and associated language ideologies to access forms of intimacy and social meaning unavailable to them due to their communicative differences. She will be working on the project with CU Boulder PhD student Ayden Parish, whose dissertation also focuses on questions related to language and neurodiversity.

Congratulations, Kira!