My main research interests lie in the historical study of Indo-European languages and the use of linguistic typology and theory to study problems that are difficult (and sometimes impossible!) to solve using the traditional Comparative Method.  I’m currently working on three major projects:

1. DERBi PIE: Together with former MA student Phillip Barnett (now at UCLA) and current MA student Ryan McDonald, I am working on the creation of a large-scale database of the PIE language, called DERBi PIE (Database of Etymological Roots Beginning in PIE). 

2. Experimental Indo-European Linguistics. I am keenly interested in designing experiments to test theories on PIE and the prehistory of IE languages. I am currently investigating the rarity of PIE */b/ with Phillip Barnett through a series of perception and production experiments.

3. The Life Cycle of A Sound Law: Szemerenyi’s Law as Study in the Diachrony of Phonological and Morphological Acquisition. I am co-writing a book on the history of Szemerenyi’s Law with Ryan Sandell (LMU München). In it we argue that a great majority of lengthened grades in PIE are attributable to processes of compensatory lengthening conditioned by the loss of fricatives in post-consonantal coda position. We show the naturalness of the sound laws through phonological analysis, phonetic and morphological experimentation, and computational modelling.



Recent Talks

  1. The Anatolian Trail: an Interactive Introduction to Proto-Indo-European” (with Phillip Barnett and Brenna Reinhart Byrd), ACTFL, New Orleans, LA (11/18)
  2. The Gilaki Causative Suffix -be(:)-: Its Function and Origins” (with Zia Khoshsirat), 30th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, Los Angeles, CA (11/18)