Rosa Vallejos-Yopán

Personal Website

My research focuses on Amazonia. Over the last twenty years, I have conducted several interconnected projects driven by a desire to find a balance between my academic work and my commitment to the communities with whom I work. I pursue research in three areas of linguistics: documentary fieldwork, morphosyntax, and language contact. I conduct extensive fieldwork to record and analyze natural spoken language, identify linguistic patterns, and explain these patterns in cross-linguistic terms. My fieldwork has generated a rich stream of documentation on unrelated and typological distant languages: Kukama-Kukamiria (Tupían), Secoya (Tukanoan), and Amazonian Spanish. Research on little-known languages and varieties of Spanish informs debates concerning the range of variation possible in languages, which ultimately allows the development of cross-linguistically valid theories of human language. At the same time, my work provides language resources for the communities I work with.

Educational History:

  • Ph.D. Linguistics, University of Oregon, 2010
  • M.A. Linguistics, University of Oregon, 2004
  • B.A. Linguistics, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, 2001

Research interests and ongoing projects:

  • Noun categorization devices and multiverb constructions in Secoya
  • Innovative grammar in Amazonian Spanish: (dis)agreement in adnominal possessive constructions
  • Contact effects in Spanish and Kukama: indexical vs. grammatical gender, null objects
  • Prosody in Amazonian Spanish and Kukama
  • The role of information structure in subordination: adverbial clauses in Kukama, clause chaining in Secoya

Selected Publications:


• Vallejos, Rosa. (2016). A grammar of Kukama-Kukamiria: A language from the Amazon. Leiden: Brill.

• Vallejos, Rosa & Rosa Amías. (2015). Diccionario kukama-kukamiria / castellano. Iquitos: Formabiap.

• Overall, Simon, Rosa Vallejos, & Spike Gildea (Eds). (2018). Non-verbal predication in Amazonian languages. Typological Studies in Language 122. John Benjamins.


• Vallejos-Yopán, Rosa & Eva Rodríguez-González. (2022). Infusing metacognition in advanced linguistics courses. Language 98.3, e131-e155. doi:10.1353/lan.0.0265.

• Vallejos, Rosa & Hunter Brown. (2021). Locative construals: topology, posture, disposition, and perspective in Secoya and beyond. Cognitive Linguistics 32.2: 251-286. DOI:

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2021). Nominal classification without grammatical agreement: Evidence from Secoya. International Journal of American Linguistics, 87.3: 423–455. DOI:

• Vallejos, Rosa, Evelyn Fernández-Lizárraga, & Haley Patterson. (2020). The role of information structure in the instantiation of objects: evidence from Amazonian Spanish. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 13.1: 219–245. DOI:

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2019). Llegaron en sus canoa: Innovación gramatical en el español de la Amazonía peruana. Letras 90.131: 77- 106. DOI:

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2018). Functional-typological approaches to Hispanic linguistics. In Kimberly L. Geeslin (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Spanish Linguistics (Cambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics, pp. 72-94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316779194.005.

• Overall, Simon, Rosa Vallejos, & Spike Gildea. (2018). Nonverbal predication in Amazonia: typological and diachronic considerations. Typological Studies in Language 122: 1-49. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2018). Possessive semantic relations and construction types in Kukama-Kukamiria. In Simon Overall, Rosa Vallejos & Spike Gildea (eds). Non-verbal predication in Amazonian languages. Typological Studies in Language 122: 295-313. John Benjamins

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2016). Structural outcomes of obsolescence and revitalization: documenting variation among the Kukama-Kukamirias. In Gabriela Perez-Baez, Chris Rogers and Jorge Rosés-Labrada (Eds.), Language Documentation and Revitalization in Latin America, 143-164. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2015). La indexicalidad de género en kukama-kukamiria desde una perspectiva tipológica. In Ana Fernandez, Albert Alvarez, and Zarina Estrada (Eds.), Estudios de Lenguas Amerindias 3. Hermosillo: Universidad de Sonora 195-222.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2014). Peruvian Amazonian Spanish: Uncovering variation and deconstructing stereotypes. Spanish in Context 11.3: 425-453.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2014). Reference constraints and information-structure management in Kokama purpose clauses: A typological novelty? International Journal of American Linguistics, 80.1: 39-67.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2014). Integrating language documentation, language preservation, and linguistic research: Working with the Kokamas from the Peruvian Amazon. Language Documentation & Conservation, 8: 38-65.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2014). Cambio de valencia en Kokama-Kokamilla. In Francesc Queixalós, Stella Telles, and Ana Carla Bruno (Eds), Incremento de valencia en las lenguas amazónicas. Caro & Cuervo: 261-282.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2013). El Secoya del Putumayo: aportes fonológicos para la reconstrucción del Proto-Tucano Occidental. Lí¬nguas Indígenas Americanas-LIAMES 13: 67-100.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2010). Is there a ditransitive construction in Kokama-Kokamilla? Studies in Language, 34.1: 75–107.

• Vallejos, Rosa. (2009). The focus function(s) of =pura in Kokama-Kokamilla discourse. International Journal of American Linguistics, 75.3: 399-432.

Awards and Grants:


• Regent’s Lecturer in Arts and Sciences, UNM, 2013-2025

• Presidential Teaching Fellow Award, UNM, 2021-2023

• Collegium de Lyon. Visiting Fellow at the Institut d’Études Avanceés, Lyon, France. 2019

• Teaching Award for Excellence, College of Arts & Sciences, UNM, 2016


• “Conceptualization of motion events in the Amazon.” OVPR-SURF, UNM, 2022

• “The linguistic expression of complex events in Secoya.” Latin American and Iberian Institute, 2021

• “Noun categorization and complex predicates in Secoya, an Amazonian Language.” National Endowment for the Humanities, 2018-2019.

• “Spanish in the Amazon: Historical forces, social relations and linguistic outcomes.” Research Allocations Grant, UNM. 2015-2017

• “Kokama: Dictionary, Pedagogical Grammar, and Text Corpus.” National Endowment for the Humanities, 2013-2014

• “Collaborative Research: Kokama-Kokamilla and Omagua: Documentation, Description and (Non-)Genetic Relationships.” With Lev Michael (UC Berkeley), National Science Foundation, 2011-2014

• “Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: A grammar of Kokama.” National Science Foundation, 2011-2014

Teaching Interests:

Language Contact, Morphosyntax, Native American Languages, Fieldwork Methods, Grammaticalization, Language Documentation

Representative Courses:

• Ling 435/535: Language Contact.

• Ling 412/512: Morphosyntax.

• Ling 411/511: Language Documentation.