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Current Research

Language Contact

Much of my current research centers around contact-induced morphosyntactic shift and attrition, with a focus on the impact of Russian on Eurasian languages. This research is supported in part by funding from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and an ACTR/ACCELS Title VIII Research Scholar Award. I will spend several months in winter 2014 at the Institute of Linguistic Research, St. Petersburg, Russia (ILI RAN), working on the project.



Arctic Indigenous Language Vitality Initiative

I currently serve as Project Coordinator for the Arctic Indigenous Language Vitality Initiative, an indigenous-driven project to assess and promote the vitality of Arctic indigenous languages. The project came from a meeting in 2008 in Tromsø where the Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council convened to strategize on how to best promote their languages. The project is more fully described at the project website here.


Language in Interaction

I am deeply interested incontextually and socially anchored usage of language, how language is used in actual interactions. To that end, I am conducting ongoing research into discourse practices and interactional grammar in Russian, focusing on the structure of conversation and other discourse types in context. A more recent project involves the study of extragrammatical verbal gestures in discourse. To date, I have primarily focused on their use in Wolof, where verbal gestures include sounds not in the Wolof phonemic inventory that are used to substitute for full lexical items (such as the use of a lateral click for waaw ‘yes’).


Current work in Greenland

The Kalaallisut-English Dictionary Project

This is a collaborative project, working with colleagues in Oqaasileriffik, the Greenland Language Secretariat, and Jerry Sadock of the University of Chicago, funded by NSF-BCS #1056497, to create a bilingual dictionary for Kalaallisut and English. Read more about this project here.


An Interdisciplinary Approach to Documenting Arctic Plants & Their Uses

Together with Simone Whitecloud, we are working to document plants and their uses in Greenland, Project funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS #1056497 and PL #1313305), tracking variation in how plants are used and dialect distribution in Greenland.


Landscape Linguistics, Space & Toponyms

This project involves the documentation and description of landscape terminology, place and space in Greenland, withing in collaboration with members of Nunat Aqqinik Aalajangiisartut (the Greenland Place Names Committee) to understand the complex linguistic and cultural interrelations between space, place, and naming practices.


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