Language documentation


I conduct language documentation work with speakers of Atchan (Ebrié), a Kwa (Potou) language spoken in and around Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. My research involves, broadly speaking, the phonology and morphology of Atchan. In my dissertation, I examine several phenomena involving nasalization at the syntax-phonology interface. These phenomena involve morpheme-specific patterns of nasalization at the junction between subject pronouns and inflectional material, including auxiliaries and verbs. In addition to nasalization, I am interested in non-concatenative morphology in Atchan, including reduplication and grammatical tone. My published work on Atchan includes a description of the phonology and conference presentations at ACAL, WOMP, OCP, LSA, AMP, RFP and mfm. 

I have been working with Atchan speakers since 2019, and have been supported by funding from the Oswalt Endangered Language Grant since 2021. Various components of this project are in collaboration with Yao Maxime Dido, a native speaker of Atchan and professor of linguistics at Université Alassane-Ouattara in Bouaké, as well as with Rebecca Jarvis (PhD candidate in Linguistics at UC Berkeley), Lindsay Hatch (undergraduate in Linguistics at UC Berkeley), and Kouame Timothée Kouadio (PhD student in Linguistics at Indiana University). The Atchan documentation team also includes undergraduate students who have worked on this project through the LRAP program at UC Berkeley at various times.


I began working with a speaker of Nghlwa (Mbatto), a Kwa (Potou) language spoken near Abidjan, in summer 2023, with plans to continue documentation and description of the language. In Nghlwa, I am particularly interested in morpheme-specific nasalization, the marking of tense/aspect/mood/polarity categories on subjects, and the phonological behavior of implosives. 


Alongside my advisor Hannah Sande, I have been working with speakers of Guébie, an endangered Kru language spoken in southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, since fall 2018. In my work with Guébie, I have focused broadly on documentation and description, and more specifically on the phonology and morphosyntax of negation, which is expressed tonally on the material in subject position. In joint work with Julianne Kapner (PhD student in Linguistics at UC Berkeley), I have recently begun a community-centered project for orthography development for Guébie. My published work on Guébie includes conference presentations at ACAL and WOCAL. 

Paraguayan Guaraní

Through a Field Methods course at Berkeley taught by Lev Michael in fall 2020 and spring 2021, I worked with two native speakers of Paraguayan Guaraní, a Tupí-Guaraní language spoken in Paraguay. Due to the pandemic, all fieldwork was conducted remotely over Zoom. My research interests in Paraguayan Guaraní center on the nasal harmony system and its interactions with loanword morphophonology. My published work on Paraguayan Guaraní includes articles in Phonology and Languages, proceedings papers from WSCLA and AMP, and conference presentations at the LSA and SAL4.

I had the chance to work with a US-based native speaker of Gã, a Kwa language spoken in Accra, Ghana, through a Field Methods course at Georgetown taught by Hannah Sande in fall 2019. In my research on Gã, I focused on grammatical tone and a phonological account of STAMP morphs in the language. My published work on Gã includes a proceedings paper from ACAL51. 


I wrote my senior thesis at Georgetown based on work with a US-based native speaker of Mòoré, a Gur language spoken in Burkina Faso, focusing on documenting and analyzing grammatical tone processes in the language. 


I am interested in the morphophonology of STAMP morphs – portmanteau morphs which include person features as well as tense, aspect, mood, and/or polarity (negation) features. The presence of these morphs is an areal feature of the Macro-Sudan Belt: I am involved in a typological survey of STAMP morphs in the area in collaboration with Hannah Sande and Karee Garvin. As they exhibit properties of both pronouns and auxiliaries, STAMP morphs are a challenge to implement in many theoretical models, and they offer unique insight into the interface between morphology and phonology, and the division of labor between the two. 


Harmony of all kinds is common across languages of West Africa (as well as in other areas of the world, like South America): my research centers around the intersection of harmony with morphology. In Atchan, for instance, only certain types of morphemes (specifically, singular subject pronouns) trigger consonant-vowel nasal harmony. I'm interested in variation across languages in terms of the domain of harmony processes: for instance, the domain of nasal harmony in Paraguayan Guaraní is a root and its prefixes, while the domain of nasal harmony in Atchan is much larger, as it can include a subject pronoun, any auxiliaries, and the verb root. I'm also interested in the directionality of harmony: what can trigger harmony, and in which direction? When can a single trigger result in harmony in both directions?


Most of the world's languages are tonal. In many African languages, tone has both lexical and grammatical functions: tone distinguishes otherwise identical lexical items, and also has a role in inflection for different grammatical categories. I'm interested particularly in grammatical tone, and have done some work in this area on grammatical tone patterns in Gã, Mòoré, and Guébie. This interest sometimes overlaps with the study of STAMP morphs, as tone on subject pronouns can be (and often is, in West African languages) an exponent of categories like tense, aspect and negation.