Welcome and thank you for visiting my website! I’m a PhD candidate in the Linguistics Department at Stanford University advised by Penny Eckert and Rob Podesva. I am currently a Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence fellow at Stanford, and was previously a graduate fellow at Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
As a sociolinguist, my research focuses on how we use language to lay claim to social and political ideologies. My dissertation explores the role of respectability politics in language variation and change among African American women in Sacramento, California. I am also invested in understanding the consequences of linguistic bias, and my previous research includes exploring linguistic bias toward African Americans in education and AI.
I graduated from UC Davis in 2016, where I received the Chancellor’s Award for my honors thesis, Teachers' Language Attitudes toward AAVE in California Public Schools (advised by Robert Bayley)
Since November 2020, I have worked on a team of incredible researchers at Google. We are conducting foundational research to ensure that voice-AI systems are more inclusive for African Americans.
A Social Meaning Perspective on Vowel Trajectories: The FEEL-FILL Merger among African Americans
Penn Working Papers in Linguistics
“I don’t Think These Devices are Very Culturally Sensitive.”—Impact of Automated Speech Recognition Errors on African Americans
Zion Mengesha, Courtney Heldreth, Michal Lahav, Juliana Sublewski, and Elyse Tuennerman
Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Racial disparities in automated speech recognition
Allison Koenecke, Andrew Nam, Emily Lake, Joe Nudell, Minnie Quartey, Zion Mengesha, Connor Toups, John R. Rickford, Dan Jurafsky, and Sharad Goel
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
The Interaction Between Phonological and Lexical Variation in Word Recall in African American English
Zion Mengesha and Georgia Zellou
Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society
A linguistic perspective: The harmful effects of responding 'All lives matter' to 'Black lives matter'
Judith Degen, Daisy Leigh, Brandon Waldon, and Zion Mengesha
ALPS Lab Blog