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, research on the language's interesting syntactic patterns, and a co-edited volume of ten texts recorded in 1901 and 1902. 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.

Zachary O'Hagan

Zachary O'Hagan (Postdoctoral Scholar, Manager) received his PhD in linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020, with a dissertation titled Focus in Caquinte, an Arawak language of Peru. His research centers on the documentation of Amazonian indigenous languages, on the people who speak them, and their history and culture. He is a generalist and arealist, with theoretical interests in morphosyntax, semantics, information structure, and historical linguistics. Since 2010 he has carried out fieldwork in Peru on Omagua (Tupí-Guaraní), Caquinte (Arawak), Taushiro (isolate), and Omurano (isolate). In 2019 he edited Tsabetsatsarentsipae itionkantajitakaroka igenketsatsare kakinte, a monolingual volume of stories in Caquinte.

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.

Leanne Hinton

Allegra Robertson (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in Amazonian languages, indigenous language revitalization, phonetics and phonology. She began conducting fieldwork in Guyana in 2017, where she documented Warao (isolate) with a focus on imperatives and morphology. Her current research focuses on contrastive phonation and gradient weight in Yanesha' (Arawak), from phonetic, phonological, and historical perspectives. Since 2017 she has also been involved in the Berkeley Comparative Arawakan Project, led by Lev Michael.

Leanne Hinton

Leanne Hinton (Director Emerita) specializes in endangered languages and language revitalization, especially for American Indian languages. She is one of the founders and an advisory board member for the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, and a co-designer of their two main programs, the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MAP), and the Breath of Life archival workshops and institutes for indigenous language recovery, 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). Her most recent book is The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization (co-edited with Leena Huss and Gerald Roche, 2018). Hinton consults around the world for tribes and organizations doing language 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 (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

Nicolas Arms

Nicolas Arms (Graduate Student, Anthropology) studies deixis and other indexical phenomena in language, focusing on the deictic systems of indigenous languages of the Americas, and on the contribution of deictic expressions to the multimodal dynamics of everyday communicative interaction. Since 2018, he has been carrying out fieldwork on 'Weenhayek, a Mataguayan language spoken in the Bolivian Chaco.

Maksymilian Dabkowski

Maksymilian Dąbkowski (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in phonological interfaces and language documentation. Since 2017, he has been carrying out fieldwork on A'ingae (or Cofán, ISO 639-3: con), an Amazonian language isolate spoken in northeast Ecuador and southern Colombia. He has investigated the interactions of stress, glottalization, and morphosyntactic structure in A'ingae verbs. In 2020, Maksymilian worked as a lab manager for A'ingae Language Documentation Project, building a multimedia language corpus accessible to the communities of speakers. His other interests include semantics, language revitalization, logic, and psycholinguistics.

Erin Donnelly Kuhns

Erin Donnelly (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in Mesoamerican languages, with a focus on socio- and historical linguistics. Her dissertation project investigates the dialectology of Northern Zapotec (Eastern Oto-Manguean). She has been researching Choapan Zapotec for ten years, and has also conducted fieldwork on varieties of Villa Alta Zapotec and Lalana Chinantec (Western Oto-Manguean). Erin collaborates with community members on El Nigromante Zapotec revitalization efforts.

Edwin Ko

Edwin Ko's (Graduate Student, Linguistics) interests focus on the indigenous languages of North America, especially Crow (Siouan) and Northern Pomo (Pomoan). His research interests are broadly in (morpho)syntax, historical linguistics, language contact, language documentation, and language revitalization. Some of his recent work involves an analysis of active-stative agreement, multiple exponence and switch-reference system in Crow, as well as of the use of digital technology in the revitalization of Northern Pomo.

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 Brazilian Amazon in 2014, and has since worked with several languages of the Jê family (Panãra, Mẽbêngôkre, Kajkwakhrattxi, and Xavante), as well as Kawaiwete (Tupí-Guaraní). Some of her recent and ongoing work includes a descriptive analysis of the phonology of Panãra, an analysis of nasal coarticulation in Panãra using oral and nasal airflow data, and a typological and theoretical analysis of nasal harmony phenomena in languages of the Tupí-Guaraní family.

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.

Tzintia Montano

Tzintia Montano Ramirez (Graduate Student, Linguistics) is interested in language revitalization, documentation, and fieldwork. Her work focuses on Mixtecan languages, specially Da'an Davi (Southern Puebla Mixtec, Mexico). Her most recent research studied language ideologies among the Mixtec diaspora community from Puebla and New York. Since then, she has been interested in developing a language documentation project oriented toward create teaching materials for revitalization efforts.

Julia Nee

Julia Nee (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. She is also involved in Northerm Pomo language revitalization, working collaboratively with Erica Carson, Jr., Edwin Ko, and Catherine O'Connor to design and implement language camps at Redwood Valley Rancheria.

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.

Recent Alumnx

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

Kayla Carpenter

Kayla Begay (Hupa) received a BA from Stanford and wrote her 2017 Berkeley PhD dissertation Wailaki Grammar on a Dene language spoken along the Eel River in northern California. Now an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University, her research focuses on Dene languages, and on historical-comparative linguistics for language revitalization within the Wailaki and Hupa communities. While at Berkeley she also worked with speakers of Karuk. Begay is a coauthor of "Xo’ch Na:nahsde’tl’-te: Survivance, resilience and unbroken traditions in northwest California" (2019, with Cutcha Risling Baldy, in Ka'm-t'em: A Journey Toward Healing), and has contributed to the Hupa Online Dictionary and Texts project (at UC Davis). She is also a member of the board of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival.

Kelsey Neely

Kelsey Neely (PhD 2019) is an ELDP Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She 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 also producing a grammatical description and lexical database for the language.

Clare Sandy

Clare Sandy (PhD 2017) is a Lecturer at San José State University and has been part of the Karuk Research Unit group conducting fieldwork on Karuk, and managing an online dictionary and text corpus of the language, and working 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) began work on Kwak'wala, a Northern Wakashan language spoken on the central coast of British Columbia, in 2009. Her dissertation work investigated object case patterns in the language and the relationship between object case and event structure. More generally, her Kwak'wala research has focused 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,

Amalia Skilton

Amalia Horan Skilton (PhD 2019) is an NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellow affiliated with the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin and the Language Development Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Austin. Since 2012, Amalia has conducted over 24 months of in situ fieldwork on Ticuna (isolate; Peru, Colombia, Brazil) and Máíhɨ̃ki (Tukanoan; Peru). Her research examines how speakers use language and gesture to manage one another's attention in conversation. Amalia's current project, titled "Language acquisition and joint attention," analyzes language development and the development of general interactive skills -- such as pointing and following adults' gaze -- in children, aged 1 to 4 years, acquiring Ticuna as their first language.

Tammy Stark

Tammy Stark's (PhD 2018) dissertation work investigated 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.