Center for Language Science to host screening of 'Talking Black in America'

January 15, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for Language Science will host a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Talking Black in America: The Story of African American Language” at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in 100 Thomas Building. The screening — followed by a question-and-answer session with executive producer Walt Wolfram and Timeka Tounsel, a postdoctoral teaching fellow in Penn State’s Department of African American Studies — is free and open to the public.

“Talking Black in America” explores the legacy, identity and significance of African-American language in American history and culture. The feature-length documentary is the culmination of a three-year effort by the Emmy-winning Language and Life Project at North Carolina State University, and of Wolfram’s lifetime of research in the field. In addition to being the documentary’s executive producer, Wolfram is currently the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English at North Carolina State.

“The status of African-American speech has been controversial for more than a half-century now, suffering from persistent public misunderstanding, linguistic profiling, and language-based discrimination,” Wolfram said. “We wanted to address that and, on a fundamental level, make clear that understanding African-American speech is absolutely critical to understanding the way we talk today.”

Additional information about the documentary can be found at To learn more about the screening at Penn State, contact Frances Blanchette, assistant director of the Center for Language Science, at 814-863-7392 or

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 15, 2018