Graduate Students

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Aaron W. Marks

Started: 2009

My area of interest is historical-comparative reconstruction and areal-contact linguistics, with a geographic focus on the Indigenous languages of the Americas. I am currently working on my doctoral dissertation, a description of the phonetics and phonology of the Wappo language of northern California, and since 2012 I have been involved in a language revitalization program with the Wappo community.

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Bethany Lycan

Started: 2021 - Greenberg Fellow

My primary interests include usage-based syntax, typology, and language revitalization.

More info...

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Bruno Pinto Silva

Started: 2022 - Greenberg Fellow

 My main interests include the documentation and description of languages labeled “Creoles” and “Pidgins.” I am particularly interested in contributing to the description of the Phonetics and Phonology of these languages. For the last eight years, I have been working on Haitian Creole.

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Chris Peverada

Started: 2011

My primary areas are syntax and semantics. Most of my interests center around verb particles and adpositions. I like to take a cross-linguistic approach, but have mostly worked with Slavic languages and Hungarian. I am a discussion leader for two sections of Linguistics 101.

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Jericho Wimborne

Started: 2019

Jericho is a PhD student with primary research interests in discourse, cross-linguistic taboo language, and communication in tabletop gaming.

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Daejin Kim

Started: 2016

Research interests: Acoustic and Articulatory Phonetics, Laboratory Phonology, Prosody, Reduction, Native American Language

More info...

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Daven Hobbs

Started: 2018 - Greenberg Fellow

My research interests are in cognitive and historical/evolutionary linguistics. For my dissertation I am building a diachronic corpus of texts in Tupi, an indigenous language of Brazil, to track changes in its morphosyntax over a period of roughly five centuries.

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David Paez Acevedo

Started: 2013

My main interests are indigenous languages and Spanish varieties in Colombia. I am especially interested in the phonetic-phonological interface, and processes of grammaticalization. I am a Teaching Assistant of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

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Debbie Wager

Started: 2010

I study discourse-level phenomena in American Sign Language. In some recent papers I have investigated discourse markers, conversational repair sequences, and mental spaces theory. I'm a TA in the Core Writing Program, teaching English 101 and 102.

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Devin Tankersley

Started: 2020 - Greenberg Fellow

My research focuses on topics related to signed languages, including morphosyntactic analysis, phonological changes, and iconicity. I have been working on documentation and description of Taiwan Sign Language by compiling a lexical database of sign lemmas, annotated for phonological information such as handshapes and transitions.

More info...

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Frances Jones

Started: 2017

My research interests include language contact, language variation, and language documentation. My primary focus is on language use in New Mexico, which I explore by documenting and describing varieties of English in the state from a variationist sociolinguistic perspective, as well as analyzing language contact effects between English and Spanish in New Mexican communities.

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Guenho Cho

Started: 2018


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Ivette Gonzalez

Started: 2020

My research interests are in documentary linguistics and the revitalization of indigenous languages of California. I work in collaborative projects to document the Paipai language (Yuman, ISO code ppi) spoken in the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico.

Gonzalez, Ivette S. 2020. Paipai (Baja California, Mexico) – Language Snapshot. Language Documentation and Description 17, 150-157.

More info...


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Jalon Begay

Started: 2010

My primary research area is descriptive work on the Navajo language, an Apachean language spoken in the American Southwest.  This work includes describing the lesser known areas of the grammar: focus particles, intensifiers, discontinuous adverbial constructions (i.e. frames), discourse markers, postpositions and derivational morphology. I am also interested in comparative Athabaskan linguistics, Grammaticalization theory, Construction Grammar, and Usage-based approaches.

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Jennifer Benson

Started: 2018

I am an internal medicine physician and teach patient-centered communication skills at the UNM School of Medicine.  I have a strong interest in health literacy, discourse analysis and relationship-building between clinicians and patients.

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Jens Van Gysel

Started: 2017 - Greenberg Fellow

I am working on a documentation and grammatical description of the Sanapaná language of Paraguay. In addition, I am interested in language variation and change in contexts of endangerment. I've also worked on prof. Croft's computational linguistic UMR project.

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Joonyeop Baek

Started: 2016

My main research areas are Cognitive Semantics and Pragmatics. I am interested in studying the conceptual structures of our mind within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics. To be more specific, I want to find out how the implicit conceptual systems such as metaphor, mental spaces, viewpoints influence our thinking process, and how they are disclosed in our language uses. 

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Lukas Denk

Started: 2016 - Greenberg Fellow

My areas of research include typology, morphosyntax, morphological complexity and the interplay between lexicon/lexicalization and grammar/grammaticalization in verbal complexes, specifically in Navajo and Athabaskan languages. I am generally interested in historical and usage-based explanations for linguistic phenomena that have not yet been provided by functional approaches.

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Mariana Willenbrink Marchesi

Started: 2020

Originally from Argentina, Mariana is currently pursuing a PhD in Linguistics. She has an MA in TESOL, and her research focuses on children's acquisition of minority languages. She is currently investigating child heritage speakers' production of demonstratives in Spanish and English.

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Meagan Vigus

Started: 2016 - Greenberg Fellow

As a recipient of the Greenberg Fellowship, I am interested in understanding the cognitive underpinnings of language through the analysis of typological data. My research focuses mostly on verbal semantics, argument structure, and argument structure alternations in a cross-linguistic perspective. I'm also involved in the Uniform Meaning Representation project.

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Motomi Kajitani

Started: 2008

 I am interested in cognitive pragmatic analyses of discourse markers from crosslinguistic perspectives. My current research topics are interactions among exemplification, hedging, topic management, stance, and mirativity.

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Rachid Lazhar Saghrouni

Started: 2010 

In my dissertation research, I seek to determine how preschool-aged, Tunisian Arabic-speaking children learn to use their morphologically complex verbs productively. By viewing the emergence of linguistic productivity as a tradeoff between computation and storage, I seek to demonstrate that the controversial dichotomous characterization of productivity as either gradient or categorical is a fake dichotomy.

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Ryan Smith

Started: 2017

I am primarily interested in gesture studies and cognitive neurophysiology. My research focuses on motor processes related to semantic processing, gesture production, and recognition of object affordances. My current project focuses on the entrainment of motor dynamics for the production of prosody and manual gesture.

More info...

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Samuel Melada

Started: 2022

I am a Neuroscience Nurse Educator at UNM hospital, and I am particularly interested in the neuro anatomy of language. I am also very interested in Discourse Analysis related to healthcare and how medical ethics are discussed and the ways in which patients interact with the healthcare system and nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers.

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Sarah Lease

Started: 2022 - Greenberg Fellow

In my research I use usage-based approaches and phonetic methods to study language acquisition and variation among Spanish-speaking children and adults in New Mexico.

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Sharifa Bahri

Started: 2018

I study the bilingual brain. I am fascinated with how bilinguals process and produce languages in conversations with other bilinguals speaking the same languages. I focus my research on bilingual Saudi Arabians who are fluent in Arabic and English. In my free time, I travel and share some of my adventures online — it’s fun being a traveling linguist!

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Sook Kyung Lee

Started: 2007


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David Player

Started: Fall 2020

David Player is a Black Deaf MA student in the Department of Linguistics. His primary research interest is the sociolinguistics of signed languages. He was awarded CRS Fellowship for his research on variation in New Mexican ASL. Rachel Whitt, a UNM reporter, published her article about his current research on sign language varieties in New Mexico.


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George Strohl

Started: 2022

I have BAs in Anthropology, Linguistics, and Russian. My interests include Linguistic Anthropology, Sociolinguistics/Sociophonetics, Second Language and Dialect Acquisition, and Social Identity Construction through speech and narrative. I plan to study the construction of local and national identities in Atlantic Canada. In the future, I would like to study Second Language Acquisition and its affects on social identity amongst English-speaking learners of Russian and Russian-speaking learners of English.

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Holly Wilson

Started: 2022

I received my undergraduate degree in Celtic Studies I am interested in language documentation and revitalization and language change.

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Jill Oglesby

Started: 2019

I have a bachelor's in engineering (hydrology, Rice Univ.) and an MA in English (poetry, Univ. of FL). I began learning Irish (Gaelic) in the year 2000, and I’m connected to Irish and Welsh speaking communities through travel and in real time online.  I work on Celtic languages, with a particular focus on subdialects of modern Donegal. I hope to eventually add to the linguistic research that backs up minority/minoritized language transmission.

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Jing Yang

Started: 2022

My research interests include semantic, cognitive linguistics and computational linguistics.

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Jose Manuel Gonzalez Izquierdo

Started: 2021

Jose Manuel, originally from Mexico City, graduated from Texas State University in German and Music. He is studying a Master’s in Administrative Studies at Missouri State University. His interests are sound design, audio engineering, ambisonic recording techniques, and comparative research between music and linguistics. At the University of New Mexico, he will focus on the acoustic features of Mazatec and its whistled language.

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Kelly Knupp

Started: 2022

I have a background in language-learning; I am fluent in Spanish and German, and am continuing to learn Arabic. I possess a bachelor's degree from UNM in Language. I enjoy analyzing the structure of language and grammar. My linguistic interests include phonetics, morphology, sociolinguistics, language contact, language change, and comparative linguistics.

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Manuel Fernandez

Started: 2018


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Patricia Farrell

Started: 2021


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Seth Wyatt

Started: 2022

I am from Slidell, Louisiana, and graduated from City University of Hong Kong in 2021 with a BA in Linguistics and Language Applications. My main research interests are Cantonese linguistics and documenting endangered Papuan and Austronesian languages. I have also written on Mis'bat'iya, a.k.a Nuwaupic, the Nuwaubian Nation’s developing conlang.

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Wil MacNeil

Started: 2022

My research interests are in viewpoint constructions in co-speech gesture with a specific focus on gesture in stand-up comedy narratives. I also dabble in sociophonetics and metaphor from a cognitive point of view.