Research

Fieldwork

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. I was able to travel to Gnagbodougnoa, a Guébie-speaking village, in summer 2019, have continued working with speakers remotely on a weekly basis since summer 2020, and hope to return to Gnagbodougnoa when conditions are safe. In my work with Guébie, I have focused broadly on documentation and description of the language, and more specifically on the phonology and morphosyntax of negation, which is exponed tonally on the subject.

Together with Becky Jarvis and Timothée Kouadio, I have been conducting remote fieldwork with native speakers of Ebrié, a Kwa language spoken in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In my research on Ebrié, I focus on morpheme-specific patterns of nasal harmony and grammatical tone.

Through a Field Methods course at Berkeley taught by Lev Michael in fall 2020 and spring 2021, I have worked with two native speakers of Paraguayan Guaraní, a Tupi-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.

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 have focused on grammatical tone and a phonological account of STAMP morphs in the language.

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

I had the opportunity to consult with several speakers of Ebrié, a Kwa language spoken in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, while I was there in summer 2019. I received an Oswalt Grant to continue documenting the language, focusing in particular on nasal harmony and tone, and plan to do so when I am next able to travel to Côte d'Ivoire.

STAMP

I am interested in the morphophonology of STAMP morphs – portmanteau morphemes which consist of subject features as well as tense, aspect, mood, and/or polarity (negation). The presence of these morphs is an areal feature of the Macro-Sudan Belt: I am currently involved in a typological survey of STAMP morphs in the area, alongside 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 a look at the interface between morphology and phonology and the division of labor between the two.

Harmony

Harmony of all kinds is common across languages of West Africa (as well as in other areas of the world, like South America): I've worked on nasal consonant and vowel harmony in Paraguayan Guaraní, and hope to look at nasal consonant and vowel harmony in Ebrié in depth in the near future. Some of the languages I have worked on also make use of vowel harmony, based on features like ATR, height, and backness. 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 Ebrié 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?

Tone

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.