woman with short curly hair and fan shaped earrings

Denise Troutman

Associate Professor; Graduate Faculty
Office: Bessey Hall
Email: troutma1@msu.edu

Research Areas

Sociolinguistics; Women and language; Ebonics; African American Women and Linguistic Practices; Impoliteness


Dr. Denise Troutman is an Associate Professor in the department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and the department of Linguistics, as well as a faculty-affiliate with the African American and African Studies (AAAS) Program. She is the winner of a 2001-2002 Fulbright Award and a 2003-2004 Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation and a 2009-2010 Humanities and Arts Research Program (HARP) Award.  From 2004-2007, Dr. Troutman served as Diversity Coordinator for the College of Arts and Letters.

Troutman teaches writing to first-year students and linguistics and sociolinguistics to undergraduate and graduate students.  Currently she is working on interrogations of politeness/impoliteness within the African American speech community, which she has presented in special lectures and conferences and which is the focus for a  current book manuscript.


Ph.D., Michigan State University
M.A., Colorado State University
B.A., Bethune-Cookman University

Representative Work

Attitude and Its Situatedness in Linguistic Politeness. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics. 46(1), 2010, pp. 85–109. Online at:http://versita.metapress.com/content/w38522w575x6/?p=fa18def3c35c439587b9992257a 

“’They Say It’s a Man’s World, but You Can’t Prove that by Me’: African American Comediennes’ Construction of Voice in Public Space.” In Judith Baxter, ed., Speaking Out: The Female Voice in Public Contexts. Hampshire, Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006: 217-239. 

“Whose Voice Is It Anyway? Marked Features in the Writing of Black English Speakers.” In Carol Severino, Juan C. Guerra, and Johnnella E. Butler, eds., Writing in Multicultural Settings. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1997.

“Discourse, Ethnicity, Culture and Racism.” In Teun A. van Dijk, ed., Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction Volume 2. London: Sage Publications, 1997. 

“Tongue and Sword: Which is to be Master?” In Geneva Smitherman, ed., African American Women Speak Out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas. Wayne State University Press, 1995, 208-223.

Selected Courses Taught

African American language
Women and Language
Black women and language

Research or Academic Affiliations

International Gender & Language Association (IGALA)

Language Policy Committee, Conference on College Composition and Communication. (CCCC)

New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV)