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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. I am interested in Indigenous language revitalization as well as long-range genetic and areal connections in the Americas. I also have an interest in patterns of areal influence among the languages of the Islamic world.

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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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Daejin Kim

Started: 2016

Research area: Phonetics, Phonology

Click here to see my current research publication on ResearchGate

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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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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.

Currently, I am completing my dissertation and teaching a Navajo language class online at UNM. I will also be a visiting scholar at University of Rochester from Spring 2017-Spring 2018.

Courses taught:

  • NVJO 311/511: Navajo Verb System I 
  • NVJO 315/515: Advanced Navajo 
  • NVJO 101-102: Elementary Conversational Navajo for Non-Native Speakers (regular and online)

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Jeannine Kammann-Cessac

Started: 2012

My interests are in cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistcs, with focus on signed languages. My research is on the perception of classifier constructions in ASL. I am also interested in music and its interaction with the brain. I have previously been a GA for Ling 304, a TA for Ling 101 and worked as a RA in Dr. Jill Morford's lab and VL2. Currently I am a PA with Dr. Caroline Smith. My Master's Thesis was under the direction of Dr. Jill Morford: "The role of phonology and semantics in the lexical processing of ASL core lexical items and classifier constructions."

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Jens Van Gysel

Started: 2017 - Greenberg Fellow


My main research interests are language description, documentation, and revitalisation (mainly of South American indigenous languages), language typology, and morphosyntactic phenomena such as alignment. I will be working on a description of Sanapaná, anan Enlhet-Enenlhet language of Paraguay, with Rosa Vallejos as my advisor. Previously I studied, amongst others, the hierarchical alignment systems of the Guaykuruan languages, also spoken in the South-American Chaco region.

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Joan Esse Wilson

Started: 2013

My research interests relate to language in individuals with autism spectrum disorders, specifically, assessment and intervention for emotion and facial expression detection, social pragmatic language, and discourse. I am a certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) working with multiple public schools in New Mexico. I am also a Graduate Assistant for the UNM College of Education's Center for Student Success.

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John Mitchell Sances

Started: 2013 - Greenberg Fellow

I am interested in Phonetics and Phonology. I have done most of my work and research on French linguistics. I am particularly fascinated by the phonological phenomenon of liaison. I am currently collaborating with a former professor to write an introduction to French phonetics and phonology. I am a Greenberg Fellow, and my faculty advisor is Caroline Smith.

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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. In this respect, I am also interested in Multimodality; studying how our conceptualizations are expressed not only in verbal modes but also in nonverbal modes.

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Josefina Bittar

Started: 2016

These are my main interests: language contact and bilingualism, language attitude and language ideology, language documentation and revitalization, language policies and language acquisition.

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Keiko Beers

Started: 2010

I am currently exploring language change processes in situations of intense language contact and severe language shift. More specifically, I would like to further investigate contact-induced changes in the morphosyntax of polysynthetic languages. Other broader linguistic interests include discourse-based analysis, semantics, language description and documentation, and language revitalization. I am a participant of the O'odham Language Revitalization Project. In the future, my colleagues and I hope to write a discourse-based descriptive grammar of O'odham. I am also a Linguistics 101 instructor.

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Lindsay Morrone

Started: 2016

I’m interested in verbal semantics from a functional-typological perspective.

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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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Michael Regan

Started: 2016

Research interests: Verbal semantics, Computational linguistics, Meaning representations, Semantics-syntax interface, Motion

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Motomi Kajitani

Started: 2008

I am pursuing my PhD in the field of typology and universals. I am particularly interested in how different kinds of joint action are expressed by means of grammatical constructions across languages and how these constructions change over time. I am also interested in analyzing structures and functions of language from an evolutionary perspective. I am a Teaching Assistant for LING101/ANTH110. I also teach various levels of Japanese in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

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Nathan Bush

Started: 1999

My master's-level research focused on the relationship between frequency effects and emergent grammar (e.g., Bush 2001). More recently, for my PhD studies, I am pursuing a corpus-based investigation of stance-marking. I am particularly interested in epistemic and evidential expressions in the English language and their systematic variation across different registers.

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Pavlina Peskova

Started: 2011

General linguistic interests: Historical linguistics, grammaticalization, cognitive linguistics, semantics. My MA thesis focused on grammaticalization and lexicalization processes in the development of aspectual prefixes in Czech. I work as a Project Assistant for Programming and Outreach at the Global Education Office at UNM.

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Ricardo Napoleao de Souza

Started: 2012

My main focus within linguistics is phonology, especially phonetically based phonological change. My research interests lie primarily in the investigation of the interplay between vowel reductions and syllable structure in a cross-linguistic perspective. I am currently a research assistant for Professor Caroline Smith investigating the basic organizing structures of phonology at the phrase level, and cross-linguistic patterns of variation in their co-occurrence. My work is chiefly concerned with French prosody.

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Sara Siyavoshi

Started: 2013

My interests are signed linguistics and processes of grammaticalization. I am also interested in metaphors (linguistic and gestural) in human communication. I am working on Persian signed language, an under-described language of the Iranian Deaf community.

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Sarah Grace Dalton

Started: 2015

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia where I received a B.S.Ed. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I then attended the University of South Carolina where I completed my Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and began my Ph.D. studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I recently moved to the University of New Mexico, where I am continuing my Ph.D. studies in Linguistics with an emphasis in Speech and Hearing Sciences. My primary field of interest includes the study and rehabilitation of neurogenic communication disorders such as aphasia. I am also interested in using technology such as neuroimaging, eye-tracking, and brain stimulation to learn more about language processing in healthy adults and adults with various communication disorders.

/about/people/images/adam-vandegriff.jpgsite:// NEW/about/people/images/ NEWadam-vandegriff.jpgAdam Vandegriff

Adam Vandegriff

Started: 2018

Research Interest Summary

Language documentation and description, fieldwork, language assessment, typology, information structure, language variation and change, Modern South Arabian languages

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David Morrison

Started: 2014

I am interested in Native American languages, with a focus on Navajo and other Athabaskan languages. More generally I am interested in morphosyntax and semantics, I especially enjoy the topic aspect and verbs.

/about/people/images/jennifer-benson-.jpgsite:// NEW/about/people/images/ NEWjennifer-benson-.jpgJennifer Benson

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.

/about/people/images/julia-remsik.jpgsite:// NEW/about/people/images/ NEWjulia-remsik.jpgJulia Remsik

Julia Remsik

Started: 2014

I have a background in English and teaching College Writing. While I have an interest in all aspects of linguistics, I am particularly drawn to speech perception, language change, and applications in forensic linguistics.

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Laurie Price

Started: 2013

I currently have an MS in Mathematics, and I am drawn to both Mathematics and Linguistics for their capacities to analyze and examine the abstract elements behind our very thoughts and ideas, and for the power and abstract beauty of each field. At this point I am particularly interested in bilingualism, language acquisition, language history, grammar, and sociolinguistics, but I expect these interests to morph and change as I delve further into this field.

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Lyle Jeff

Started: 2016

I have a BA in Linguistics and a BS in Signed Language Interpreting both earned at UNM. I am interested in ASL phonology, ASL syntax, and interpreter education. Although the focus of my interests is in signed language linguistics, I wish to pursue research into language revitalization connected to the Navajo language and wish to bridge the communication gap between the hearing and deaf Navajo communities through exposure to a signed language, bilingual education, and bilingual language instruction. I hope to pursue a project in the future that deals with intersectionality in minority communities.

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Michael Drinkwater

Started: 2015

I am interested in how Usage-Based and Functional theories can be applied to the study of ancient languages.  I believe this is one way in which we can gather significantly more data on language change.  Topics in Language Typology and Language Preservation are also very intriguing to me.

/about/people/images/ryan-smith.jpgsite:// NEW/about/people/images/ NEWryan-smith.jpgRyan Smith

Ryan Smith

Started: 2014

/about/people/images/savannah-rivas.jpgsite:// NEW/about/people/images/ NEWsavannah-rivas.jpgSavannah Rivas

Savannah Rivas

Started: 2016

My interests in linguistics are broad, ranging from neurolinguistics to language origins, yet my greatest passion lies in computational linguistics. Utilizing artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing, I explore first language acquisition and literary language uses. I am also keen on the application of NLP to medical and scientific research.

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Sharifa Bahri

Started: 2015

Being a Middle Eastern, I have sociolinguistic interests in the Middle East, particularly in how the politics and history of the area have shaped not only our language and identity but also our perspective on feminism and gender. My thesis is to be more or less focused on Saudi Arabia, my home country, with a little broad comparison to other countries in the region.