Biography

I study how grammatical structures are used by speakers today and how these grammatical structures may have developed over time. In these ways, I aim to inform how we understand the capacity, diversity, and beauty of language.

I use tools from language documentation and linguistics to create corpora of oral stories. These corpora are then used to demonstrate the natural grammatical patterns used within the community. Using a collaborative process, I marshal these oral stories from recording through to transcription and translation.

My research interests include African languages, morphosyntax, language description and documentation, diachronic morphosyntax, and discourse grammar. I am particularly interested in the morphosyntax of the Kainji languages of Nigeria and how they can inform our understanding of the Niger‑Congo language family more broadly.

Interests

  • Language description and documentation
  • Morphosyntax
  • Kainji languages
  • Diachronic syntax
  • Discourse grammar

Education

  • Ph.D. in Linguistics, 2019

    University of Oregon

  • M.A. in Linguistics, 2007

    University of North Dakota

  • B.Sc., 2001

    Cairn University

Oral Presentations

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An unattested person alignment u̱t‑Maꞌin with possible logophoric function
Exploring the logophoric continuum
Clause final negation and double negation in Northwest Kainji
Building Multilingual Comparable Corpora
Songs: Language Choice and Verbal Art
Reported Speech in u̱t‑Maꞌin
Ubiquitous Association in u̱t‑Maꞌin
University of Oregon Ph.D Defense
Development of U̱t‑Maꞌin Progressive Constructions

Experience

 
 
 
 
 

Post-doctoral researcher

CNRS-LLACAN

CNRS-LLACAN

Sep 2019 – Present Villejuif, France

Responsibilities include:

 
 
 
 
 

Linguist

SIL International Nigeria Group

SIL International Nigeria Group

Sep 2013 – Sep 2019 Oregon, USA / Jos, Nigeria
 
 
 
 
 

Graduate Teaching Fellow

University of Oregon

University of Oregon

Sep 2012 – Jun 2019 Eugene, Oregon, USA

Responsibilities included:

 
 
 
 
 

Professional Development Coordinator

SIL Americas Area

SIL Americas Area

Sep 2010 – Aug 2012 Texas, USA
 
 
 
 
 

Visiting Instructor

Department of Linguistics, Payap University

Department of Linguistics, Payap University

Aug 2007 – Dec 2007 Chiang Mai, Thailand

Responsibilities included:

 
 
 
 
 

Instructor

Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota

Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota

Jun 2005 – Aug 2013 Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

Responsibilities included:

 
 
 
 
 

Translation and Linguistics Consultant Intern

The Seed Company

The Seed Company

Aug 2004 – Dec 2007 Texas, USA / Chiang Mai, Thailand / Jos, Nigeria

Projects

Kainji Bibliography

An essential resource for anyone doing research in Kainji langauge speaking areas.

u̱t‑Maꞌin oral histories and narratives

A project collecting Narratives and wordlists from the various lects of the u̱t‑Maꞌin language.

Discourse reporting in African storytelling

Exploring grammatical patterns used for quotations in narrative texts.

u̱t-Maꞌin predication

Exploring the morphosyntax of verbal and nonverbal predication, negation, and the extensive use of nominalization.

u̱t-Maꞌin Pear Film research

A parallel corpus of Pear Film retellings from 9 speakers, across 3 u̱t‑Maꞌin varieties.

u̱t-Maꞌin verb research

This project focused on answering the question: “What is the distribution of verb forms in narrative discourse?”

SIL Americas Area Professional Development Platform

Implementation of Cornerstone OnDemand for SIL Americas Area

Mòoré research

Collaboration with Timbwaoga Aime Judicaël Ouermi, Sara Pacchiarotti, and Amos Teo, while enrolled in a 9 month field methods course.

Pipero research

Working alongside local speakers of Pipero to develop a writing system and language materials.

u̱t-Maꞌin noun research

Complex morphology and agreement patterns within the NP and beyond.

Recognition & Support

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Awards

Fellowships

Grants

  • 2016 Research Grant, Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon Her voice: Documenting the language of women speakers of the U̱t‑Maꞌin language (Nigeria)
  • 2013, 2015 Travel Grant, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
  • 2014 Travel Grant, American English Institute, University of Oregon

Scholarships

  • 2007 MA Scholarship, Linguistics Program, University of North Dakota
  • 2001–2005 General Scholarship, Linguistics Program, University of North Dakota
  • 1999–2001 Merit Scholarship, Cairn University
  • 1999 Leadership Scholarship, Cairn University

Community

Service, Professional memberships, and Community Development

Service

Professional Memberships

Community Development

Professional involvements with minority language community members.

  • Language team building — on demand training in computer skills and program planning
  • Instructing speakers of other languages in linguistics, discourse analysis of narrative texts, translation principles, and preparation of materials to help mother-tongue speakers test orthography design decisions

Teaching

Leadership in formal education settings

Trinity Western University

The Canada Institute of Linguistics

  • Workshop on grammatical description (Writing Grammars) — Consultant (Summer ‘20) Conducted via Zoom due to Covid-19.

University of Oregon Department of Linguistics

Department of Linguistics

  • Morphology and Syntax, LING 435/535 — Teaching Assistant (Fall ‘18)
  • Language and Power, LING 201 — Teaching Assistant (Spring ‘17)
  • Structure of English Words, LING 150 — Teaching Assistant (Spring ‘16)
  • Structure of English Words, LING 150 — Teaching Assistant (Winter ‘16)
  • Structure of English Words, LING 150 — Teaching Assistant (Fall ‘15)
  • Intro. to Linguistic Analysis, LING 301 — Teaching Assistant (Spring ‘13)
  • Structure of English Words, LING 150 — Instructor of Record (Winter ‘13)
  • Morphology and Syntax, LING 435/535 — Teaching Assistant (Fall ‘12)

American English Institute, University of Oregon

Intensive English Program (IEP)

  • Listening and Note taking, Level 4 — Instructor of Record (Winter ‘18)
  • Listening and Note taking, Level 4 — Instructor of Record (Fall ‘17)
  • Oral Communication Skills, Level 6 — Instructor of Record (Spring ‘15)
  • Oral Communication Skills, Level 6 — Instructor of Record (Winter ‘15)
  • Oral Communication Skills, Level 6 — Instructor of Record (Fall ‘14)
  • Oral Communication Skills, Level 2 — Instructor of Record (Winter ‘14)

Academic English for International Students (AEIS)

  • Intro. to Academic Writing, AEIS 110 — Instructor of Record (Spring ‘14)
  • Intro. to Academic Writing, AEIS 110 — Instructor of Record (Fall ‘13)

University of North Dakota Linguistics Program

Summer Institute of Linguistics Program

  • Tone Analysis, LING 513 — Teaching Assistant (Summer ‘13)
  • Linguistic Field Methods, LING 506 — Instructor (Summer ‘10)
  • Linguistic Field Methods, LING 506 — Instructor (Summer ‘09)
  • Linguistic Field Methods, LING 506 — Teaching Assistant (Summer ‘08)
  • Syntax and Morphology I, LING 452 — Teaching Assistant (Summer ‘05)

Payap University Graduate Linguistics Department, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Graduate Linguistics Department

  • Semantics, LING 607 — Visiting Instructor (Fall ‘07)

Nigeria Bible Translation Trust, Jos, Nigeria

Introductory Course in Applied Linguistic (ICAL)

  • Phonetics/Phonology — Teaching Assistant (2006)

Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

English Language Program, Office of International Education

  • Pronunciation Coaching — Tutor (Summer ‘04)

Grace International School, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Middle School

  • Special Needs Classroom — Volunteer (Jan. ‘03–Mar. ‘03)

Master Classes

Serving communities while training in linguistic skills

June 15 – August 14, 2020 Grammar Writing Workshop Trinity Western University, British Columbia Canada
Focus: Over nine weeks, I directly mentored three participants as they each wrote on different grammar issues for different African languages.

October 21-29, 2011 Lifelong Learning for Leaders SIL Americas Area, Panama City, Panama
Focus: This workshop provided interpersonal and leadership skills for leaders across the Americas. I presented the Cornerstone OnDemand platform and how to use the platform to support individualized professional development plans.


As part of my position with the SIL Americas Area I worked to provide skills in lingusitic tools to mother tongue language users. I was invited to co-lead the workshop on Fieldworks Software held at the University of Malaysia, Sabah.

October 17-19, 2011 Fieldworks Language Explorer as a dictionary development tool University of Malaysia, Sabah, Malaysia
Focus: Over three days I provided 15 hours instruction on different aspects of Fieldworks useful in the production of community created dictionaries.


As part of my position with the Seed Company from 9/2004 – 12/2007, I was engaged as a Linguistics Consultant Intern under Katherine Barnwell, Ph.D. I worked and lived in Nigeria. During this three year internship I took part in or facilitated various workshops. Most workshops focused on providing minority language speakers linguistic and language use skills, for conducting language development activities in their own mother tongues.

January 15 - February 2, 2007 8th Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State ECWA Theological College, Kufai, Biliri, Gombe State

September 18 – October 6, 2006 7th Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State ECWA Theological College, Kufai, Biliri, Gombe State, Nigeria
Focus: Translation and community checking of translated materials: visit to Gwandum

May 15 - June 2, 2006 6th Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State ECWA Theological College, Kufai, Biliri, Gombe State, Nigeria

January 16 - February 3, 2006 5th Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State ECWA Theological College, Kufai, Gombe State, Nigeria
Focus: Draft for circulation: Reading and Writing

September 19 - October 8, 2005 4th Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State Science Secondary School, Kaltungo, Gombe State, Nigeria

January 10-29, 2005 2nd Luke Partnership workshop in Gombe State ECWA Good News Church GRA, Gombe, Nigeria
Focus: Draft for circulation in preliminary orthography: The Good Samaritan (Pipero)

January 3-7, 2005 Facilitator, Visual Arts, Scripture in Use Workshop NBTT, Jos, Nigeria

Across Cultures

Cross Cultural Experience

Europe

Paris, France | 24 months in Paris, France at CNRS

  • Dates: 9/2019⁠–⁠Present

Resident in France while a postdoctoral researcher at CNRS-LLACAN. I worked with 20 other people doing research on reported speech in West African languages.

Northern Nigeria

u̱t‑Maꞌin speaking people | 12 months in Niger State, Nigeria

  • Dates: 4/2005, 11/2005, 2⁠–⁠3/2006, 8/2006, 10/2006, 2/2007, 8⁠–⁠9/2013, 3/2017, 8-9/2017

Data elicitation, collecting oral literature, transcription and translation of texts, grammar analysis. Development of adult reading primer for use by bilingual speakers literate in Hausa. Language data formed the basis for my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. Most recent visits in 2017 funded by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon. Close collaboration with local speakers and other linguists working on Kainji languages.

Pipero speaking people | 6 months in Gombe State, Nigeria

  • Dates: 1/2005, 9/2005, 1/2006, 5/2006, 9/2006, 1/2007

Orthography checking and testing. Translation adviser to team of native speaker translators. Development of adult reading primer for use by bi/trilingual speakers literate in Hausa and/or English. Supervisor, Katherine Barnwell, Ph.D.

Southern Mexico

Meꞌphaa speaking people | 5 Months in Guerrero State, Mexico

  • Dates: 11/2010–1/2011 and 3/2011–4/2011

Logistics support role for language documentation project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA) Project: Documenting the Meꞌphaa genus. (PI: Steven A. Marlett, Ph.D.)

Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand | 10 Months in Northern Thailand

People I’ve Worked with

Mother Tongue Speakers

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Ibrahim Tume Ushe

Language Speaker

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Timbwaoga Aimé Judicaël Ouermi

Language Speaker & Computer Scientist

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Ibrahim Yohanna

Language Speaker

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Sunday John

Language Speaker

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Serah Sunday

Language Speaker

Academics

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Rebecca Voll

Linguist

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Christian Chanard

Programmer

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Amos Teo

Linguist & Data Analyst

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Timbwaoga Aimé Judicaël Ouermi

Language Speaker & Computer Scientist

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Doris Payne

Linguist

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Keith Snider

Linguist

Instructional Collaborators

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Doris Payne

Linguist

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Keith Snider

Linguist

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Tom Payne

Linguist

Skills

Learning a language is almost as easy as forgetting a language. All skills ebb and flow with fluency in various seasons of life.

Language proficiencies

Native

Intermediate

  • Hausa (Chadic, Afro‑Asiatic)⁠—⁠speaking​/​reading​/​structural knowledge
  • u̱t‑Maꞌin (Kainji, Benue‑Congo)⁠—⁠speaking​/​structural knowledge | 12 months fieldwork

Basic

  • Pipero (Chadic, Afro‑Asiatic) — structural knowledge | 6 months fieldwork
  • Mòoré (Gur, Niger‑Congo) — structural knowledge | 9 month field methods course
  • German — reading | 2 years coursework
  • Koine Greek — reading/​structural knowledge
  • Latin — reading/​structural knowledge
  • French — some knowledge

Digital tools

Linguistic and Translation Software


Strategy games

Saint Petersburg , Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Keeping a 4‑year‑old intellectually engaged and out of trouble durring COVID‑19.

Contact

Talking is better with coffee.