People: Survey affiliates and Americanist linguists

Personnel | Affiliated Faculty | Affiliated Students | Recent Alumni


Andrew Garrett

Andrew Garrett (Director) is Professor of Linguistics and Nadine M. Tang and Bruce L. Smith Professor of Cross-Cultural Social Sciences. As a Californianist he has done linguistic fieldwork, archival work, and consulting work with the Hupa, Karuk, Northern Paiute, Rumsen Ohlone, and Sierra Miwok languages, but he mainly focuses on Yurok and Karuk (in northern California). His Yurok projects include articles on descriptive and historical linguistics, contributions to the tribal language program (including a practical dictionary compiled with Juliette Blevins and Lisa Conathan), ongoing work on Yurok texts, and a digital text and lexical archive. In Yurok grammar, Garrett is especially interested in relations between lexical and morphological structures on the one hand, and between lexical and syntactic patterns on the other; his book Basic Yurok appeared in 2014. His Karuk projects, in collaboration with Line Mikkelsen and several graduate students, include a database of texts and research on the language's interesting syntactic patterns. More generally, he studies the dialectology of languages of the west coast and the emergence of the distinctive California linguistic profile. Outside California, Garrett also worked on Indo-European historical linguistics, especially Anatolian, Greek, and Latin, and general problems of language change and linguistic reconstruction.

Leanne Hinton

Leanne Hinton (Director Emerita) specializes in endangered languages and language revitalization, especially for American Indian languages. She consults for tribes and organizations doing language revitalization around the world. She is an advisory board member for the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, and a founding organizer of their two main programs, the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MAP), and the Breath of Life language recovery workshops and institutes in Berkeley and Washington D.C. (BOL). Her books include Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages (Heyday Books, 1994), The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (ed. with Ken Hale, Academic Press, 2001), How to Keep Your Language Alive: A commonsense approach to one-on-one language learning (Heyday Books, 2002), and Bringing Our Languages Home: Language revitalization for Families (Heyday Books, 2013).

Ronald Sprouse

Ronald Sprouse (Programmer) has worked as a linguist and programmer on a number of language documentation projects in addition to his work with the Survey. He served as Technical Director of the Ingush and Chechen projects that resulted in the publication of two dictionaries; in support of these projects he conducted fieldwork with Ingush and Chechen consultants, worked on lexical databases, and created a web-based system for collecting and annotating interlinear text. He was also a significant contributor to the Turkish Electronic Living Lexicon project, a lexical database of transcribed audio recordings for studying Turkish morphophonemics, for which he created a web-based search interface and tools for investigating the statistical properties of morphophonemic alternations in the data.

Edwin Ko

Edwin Ko's (Graduate Student, Linguistics) interests focus on the indigenous languages of North America, especially Crow (Siouan) and Northern Pomo (Pomoan). Since 2014, he has been engaged in the revitalization efforts of Northern Pomo, a dormant language of Northern California. In these efforts, he has been involved in the development of numerous educational technologies such as online learning materials and mobile apps. He has also been part of community-oriented revitalization efforts of Crow, a language of Montana, working primarily with Crow educators and Crow language teachers. His research interests are broadly in morphosyntax, semantics, language contact, historical linguistics, and language documentation and revitalization.

Affiliated Faculty

Christine Beier

Christine Beier (Assistant Adjunct Professor of Linguistics) dedicates her research and field activities to the documentation, description, revitalization, and revalorization of small and endangered languages, primarily in Peruvian Amazonia. She is particularly interested in the social life of language, text-driven research, and the value of diversified collaboration in addressing language vitality and endangerment. Thus far, she has worked with inheritors and speakers of Andoa (also: Katsakáti; Zaparoan), Aʔiwa (isolate), Iquito (also: Ikíitu; Zaparoan), Matsigenka (Arawak), Máíhĩki (also: Orejón, Tukanoan), Nanti (Arawak), Muniche (isolate), Omagua (Tupí-Guaraní), and Záparo (also: Sápara; Zaparoan). She is also co-founder, with Lev Michael, and secretary/treasurer of Cabeceras Aid Project, a 501(c)(3) organization whose humanitarian work supports the social and physical well-being of communities whose languages, cultures, and ways of life are endangered.

Amy Rose Deal

Amy Rose Deal (Associate Professor of Linguistics) has carried out field research for the last 14 years on Nez Perce, a Sahaptian language of the Columbia River Plateau. As a formal syntactician and semanticist, she is particularly interested in consequences for universals and variation in grammar, meaning, and their connection. Particular interests include everything to do with attitude reporting, clause embedding, and perspective (e.g. shifty indexicals, de re reporting, raising to object, "relative embedding"); ergativity and/or morphological case; modality; countability (mass/count distinction); external possession and possessor raising; relative clauses; and agreement.

Lev Michael

Lev Michael (Associate Professor of Linguistics) carries out ethnographically-informed linguistic research in several communities in Peruvian and Ecuadorean Amazonia, and has worked with speakers of with speakers of Andoa (Zaparoan), Aʔɨwa (isolate), Iquito (Zaparoan), Kashibo-Kakataibo (Panoan), Máíhɨki (Tukanoan), Matsigenka (Arawak), Muniche (isolate), Nanti (Arawak), Omagua (Tupí-Guaraní based contact language), and Záparo (Zaparoan). As an anthropological linguist, his interests include the social instrumentality of deictic evidential categories (especially evidentiality), the formal structure and social function of verbal art, language contact and historical linguistics in Amazonia, language typology, language documentation and grammatical description, and the practice and politics of language revitalization. His blog on Amazonian languages and societies can be found here.

Line Mikkelsen

Line Mikkelsen (Associate Professor of Linguistics) works with Andrew Garrett and a team of graduate and undergraduate students on the Karuk language of Northern California. Project goals include linguistic documentation and analysis and the creation of resources for community language programs. Since 2010, we have been creating a substantial online archive of Karuk texts and audio recordings and integrating these with the Karuk dictionary created by William Bright and Susan Gehr. In 2011, Garrett and Mikkelsen received an NSF-DEL grant to create a treebank (a syntactically parsed corpus) of Karuk. The treebank will be overlaid on the existing morphological and lexical parsing and integrated with the dictionary, creating an integrated research and language learning resource. As a syntactician, Mikkelsen is particularly interested in Karuk word order, about which very little is known, verbal and nonverbal predication, the internal organization of noun phrases, and subordination. Mikkelsen also holds a Mellon Project Grant (2014-15) to investigate the linguistic texture of Karuk narratives.

Beth Piatote

Beth H. Piatote (Associate Professor of Native American Studies) is affiliated faculty in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include Native American/Aboriginal literature and federal Indian law in the United States and Canada; American literature; and Nez Perce language and literature, including traditional stories, historical narratives, and religious texts. Her publications include her award-winning monograph, Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature (Yale 2013) and the co-edited volume, The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies (2013), as well as articles and short stories in American Quarterly, Kenyon Review, American Literary History, and other journals and anthologies. She is Nez Perce enrolled at Colville, and has studied and translated Nez Perce texts with Haruo Aoki since 2002, and engaged in various language retention and revitalization efforts at Nespelem, Wa.; Lapwai, Idaho; and Pendleton, Oregon.

Richard Rhodes

Richard Rhodes (Associate Professor of Linguistics) conducts research on topics relating to American Indian languages, particularly those of the Algonquian family, including bringing insights gained in fieldwork to bear on typology and on analytic issues in better studied languages. He has done extensive fieldwork on the Ottawa dialect of Ojibwe which is spoken in Michigan and southern Ontario, and on Métchif, a language of the northern plains consisting of French and Cree elements. He has also done fieldwork on Sayula Popoluca, a Mixe-Zoquean language of southern Mexico. His most important work is the Eastern Ojibwe-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary which incorporates two dialects of Ojibwe. He has written extensively on the syntax of Ojibwe, on topics of Ojibwe ethnohistory, and on the lexicography of American Indian languages.

Affiliated Students

Erin Donnelly Kuhns

Erin Donnelly (Graduate Student, Linguistics) works on Choapan Zapotec and Cajonos Zapotec (Eastern Oto-Manguean), two closely related languages spoken primarily in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico. Her current project focuses on documenting and analyzing intra- and inter-dialectal variation in Choapan Zapotec. Erin is also working on a dictionary of Choapan Zapotec and a description of its grammar. Donnelly has also described and analyzed phonetic variation in Nigromante Zapotec, a variety of Cajonos Zapotec, and is working with community members on a grammatical description of this particular dialect. She participates in community-oriented language revitalization efforts of Choapan and Nigromante Zapotecs. Erin has also worked on Lalana Chinantec (Western Oto-Manguean). Donnelly is interested in variationist sociolinguistics, language and gender, historical linguistics, dialectology, language documentation, language revitalization, and anthropological linguistics.

Wesley dos Santos

Wesley dos Santos (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in Language Documentation and Description, Historical Linguistics and Linguistic Typology of South America Indigenous Languages. His current project focuses on a grammatical description of Kawahiva (a Tupi-Guarani language) based on the varieties spoken by the Karipuna and Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau peoples living in Southwestern Amazonia basin (State of Rondônia, Brazil), where dos Santos started conducting fieldwork in 2017.

Myriam Lapierre

Myriam Lapierre (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in the phonetics and phonology of South American languages, with a particular focus on nasality-related phenomena in the Amazon. She began conducting fieldwork in the Eastern Amazon in 2014 with the Mebêngôkre (Jê) and her current research focuses on Panará (Jê). Her recent and ongoing work includes a descriptive analysis of the phonology of Panará, an analysis of nasal coarticulation in Panará using oral and nasal airflow data, and a typological and theoretical analysis of the vowel systems of Mebêngôkre and Panará.

Erik Maier

Erik Maier (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is part of the Karuk Research Unit, a group which conducts regular fieldwork with remaining Karuk speakers, manages an online dictionary and text corpus of the language, works with the Karuk community to support their language revitalization efforts, and is currently building a dependency grammar syntactic treebank of Karuk. His research interests include language documentation and revitalization, morphology, syntax, semantics, and verbal art.

Julia Nee

Julia Nee's (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in language revitalization and is enrolled in the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization. After finishing her BA in linguistics at the University of Chicago, she moved to Oaxaca, Mexico to teach English before returning to the U.S. to continue her education. During her time in Mexico, she began to study Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec, an indigenous language spoken outside of Oaxaca City. Her research now centers on language documentation and revitalization within the Zapotec community.

Kelsey Neely

Kelsey Neely (Graduate Student, Linguistics) works on Yaminawa and Nahua (Yora), two closely related Panoan language varieties spoken in Peruvian Amazonia. She is currently interlinearizing and editing a book of traditional narratives and oral histories for the Yaminawa and Nahua communities. Her research interests include anthropological linguistics, sociolinguistics, prosody, morphosyntax, and the history of Amazonian languages and peoples. Kelsey is currently writing her dissertation on linguistic affect in Yaminawa and Nahua as she concurrently produces a grammatical description and lexical database for the language.

Zachary O'Hagan

Zachary O'Hagan's (Graduate Student, Linguistics) research centers on the languages, people, and history of Amazonia, and he is particularly concerned with the morphosyntax, semantics, and information structure of these languages, as well as in how employing a variety of approaches to the study of their relatedness can shed light on population distributions and language contact in the pre-Columbian period. Since 2010 he has carried out fieldwork in Peru on Omagua (Tupí-Guaraní), Omurano (isolate), Caquinte (Arawak), and Taushiro (isolate). At Berkeley he is part of a team-based project utilizing phylogenetic methods to study the diachrony of Tupí-Guaraní languages and the historical migrations of their speakers. He has also collaborated on the writing of a grammar of Omagua, a reconstruction of Proto-Omagua-Kokama, the study of colonial-era Jesuit interactions with indigenous peoples of Peru, and the development of a Matsigenka (Arawak) text corpus.

Amalia Skilton

Amalia Horan Skilton (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is a fieldworker with an areal commitment to the northwestern Amazon Basin. Her research centers on pragmatics, semantics, and the social and cultural dimensions of language. She has conducted 21 months of in situ fieldwork on Ticuna (isolate; Brazil, Peru, Colombia) and Máíhĩki (Tukanoan; Peru). Her dissertation project examines the meaning of spatial and temporal deictics in Ticuna using perspectives from logical semantics, Neo-Gricean pragmatics, and linguistic anthropology.

Recent Alumnx

For a list of earlier students working in the Survey, see our Dissertations page.

Kayla Carpenter

Kayla Carpenter (PhD 2017) is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University and a boardmember of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS). Her research focuses broadly on endangered languages of Northern California and language revitalization. She has been involved in fieldwork with Hupa language since 2008, with fieldwork experience in Karuk, Sereer of Senegal and Yucatec Mayan of Mexico. Her studies also include Yurok, and Wailaki of Northern California. She is currently working on a description of Wailaki for her dissertation.

Stephanie Farmer

Stephanie Farmer (PhD 2015) is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Macalester College. Her experience with languages of the Americas includes summer fieldwork on Muniche, a recently extinct isolate formerly spoken in the Loreto province of Peru. With data from three elderly semispeakers, she helped to produce a thematic dictionary and a pedagogical grammar for the community of Munichis. Stephanie has also been working since 2010 on Máíhɨ̱̀kì, an endangered Western Tukanoan language spoken in the Peruvian Amazon basin. Her research there focuses on noun classification, pluractionality, and the interaction of nominal and verbal number.

Daisy Rosenblum

Daisy Rosenblum (PhD UC Santa Barbara 2014) is an Assistant Professor in the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program and the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. She focuses on the multi-modal documentation and description of indigenous languages of North America, with an emphasis on methods, partnerships, and products that contribute to community-based language revitalization. She currently works with speakers of Kʷak'ʷala, a Wakashan language of British Columbia, to record narrative, conversation, and other types of spontaneous speech for today's and tomorrow's learners and teachers of the language. These recordings form an annotated corpus of spontaneous speech in two dialects, archived locally and at the Endangered Language Archive at SOAS. Practical research interests include documentation workflows, data management, archival best practices, digital repatriation, and the decolonization of linguistic research. Academic research interests include the grammar of space, argument structure, alignment, deixis, voice and valence, as well as mechanisms of contact, diffusion and change in the Pacific Northwest and Mesoamerican linguistic areas. Before becoming a linguist, Daisy taught art and designed curriculum in public elementary schools, museums and libraries in Brooklyn and Queens, was coordinator of Immigrant Artist Services at New York Foundation for the Arts, and worked as a shadow puppeteer.

Clare Sandy

Clare Sandy (PhD 2017) is a Visiting Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University and part of the Karuk Research Unit, a group that conducts fieldwork on Karuk, manages an online dictionary and text corpus of the language, and works with the Karuk community to support their language revitalization efforts. She has also carried out team based linguistic fieldwork on Omagua, a highly endangered language of the Peruvian Amazon, and has worked with Sierra Miwok, Mono, and Eastern Pomo speakers and language learners at the Breath of Life Workshop. Her research interests include phonology, morphology, and language change, and her dissertation work focuses on the accentual system of Karuk. She is also interested in database development and in making archival linguistic materials accessible.

Katie Sardinha

Katie Sardinha (PhD 2017) has been working on Kwak'wala, a Northern Wakashan language spoken on the central coast of British Columbia, since 2009. Her dissertation work was concerned with accounting for object case patterns in the language, and for the relationship between object case and event structure in this language. More generally, her Kwak'wala research has focused mainly on phenomena at the syntax-semantic interface and syntactic change within the Wakashan language family. Katie is interested in fieldwork methodology and creative language teaching tools, and has developed Story-builder, a visual story-telling card set which can be downloaded from her website,

Tammy Stark

Tammy Stark's (PhD 2018) dissertation work investigates agreement in Northern Caribbean Arawak. She has carried out team based linguistic fieldwork on the Tupí-Guaraní language, Omagua. She has also studied the Arawak languages Yanesha and Garifuna. Her research broadly focuses on the theoretical linguistic issues presented by indigenous languages of South America.