Portrait Photograph of Joe Salmons

Joe Salmons


College of Letters & Science l Department of Language Sciences

Hometown: Kings Mountain, NC

Joe Salmons is the Lester W.J. “Smoky” Seifert Professor of Language Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. With Jim Leary, he co-founded the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures and edited Diachronica: International journal for historical linguistics from 2002 until 2019. He is the author of A History of German: What the past reveals about today’s language (Oxford, second edn 2018) and Sound Change (2021, Edinburgh University Press). His research focuses on language change and linguistic theory, especially sound systems.


Joe is a dynamic speaker whose enthusiasm about his topic is evident. Great rapport with his audience.
– Ted T., Bethel Christian Men’s Fellowship


English in Wisconsin
This presentation, including plenty of audience participation, will explore the kinds of English spoken in our state, including pronunciation, words and word forms, and grammar. We’ll look at how key features of Wisconsin English have developed over time – and how remarkably recent they are – and how they are changing and becoming more distinct today.
The Languages of Wisconsin

Our state is remarkably rich in languages, Indigenous and immigrant. This talk explores the map of Wisconsin languages past and present. We’ll focus especially on how and why communities have shifted to English over time and efforts to maintain and revitalize some of them today.