Linguistics Labs

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona is home to more than 15 unique linguistics labs that provide research opportunities, resources, and exciting discussions on topics like theoretical syntax, endangered languages, psycholinguistics, and more.

Directors: Andrew Carnie (, Heidi Harley (

No regular meetings

The department of linguistics at the University of Arizona sponsors an active and vibrant research team with a focus on theoretical approaches to Syntax and formal approaches to Semantics. This research group investigates all areas of sentence structure, morphosyntax, sentence meaning, and lexical meaning, as well as the interfaces of these with other related disciplines, such as sentence processing, language acquisition, computation. The focus of the group is in Generative (Minimalist) approaches to syntax and semantics, although other perspectives such as HPSG, LFG and Optimality theory are pursued. The research group encourages collaboration between participants and between faculty and students. The group holds frequent meetings (the Syntax Salon) both as a reading group and for the workshopping of new ideas.

Syntax Salon 

The Syntax Center provides computing and resource materials for the study of topics in theoretical syntax. The center sponsors SynSalon, a regular meeting open to all, in which members may present work in progress, practice talks and presentations, or discuss a topic of current interest. Students are strongly encouraged to attend SynSalon. Current projects include: Verb Initial Syntax, telicity and argument structure. Uto-Aztecan and Indo-Iranian Syntax, passive, second-position clitics and complex predicates.

Research Projects

On-going research projects include (but are not limited to):

  • Binding & Obviation in Minimalism
  • Copular Constructions and Predication
  • Topic & Focus, and syntactic structure
  • Case & Ergativity
  • Scrambling & Word Order
  • Argument Structure, Aspect, Aktionsarten & Lexical semantics
  • Extraction and Anaphora
  • Complex Prediates
  • The morphology syntax Interface
  • Dative shift and morphophonology
  • Syntactic theory and Sentence Processing
  • Lexical Access
  • The structure of DP.
  • The acquisition of relative clauses
  • Semantic Timing Effects
  • Reconstruction
  • Reference Types and Anaphora
  • The syntax & semantics of particular languages:

    • Modern Irish
    • English
    • Spanish
    • Navajo
    • Hiaki (Yaqui)
    • Tohono O'odham
    • Scottish Gaelic
    • Japanese
    • Chinese
    • Russian
    • Modern Persian
    • Maori
    • Mayan Languages
    • Salishan Languages

Graduate Programs in Syntax and Semantics

The research group, in coordination with the department of linguistics, sponsors a Ph.D. in Linguistics with a specializations in Theoretical Syntax, Formal Semantics, Lexical Semantics, Syntax/Semantics Interfaces, Sentence Processing and related areas.

  • A masters degree in the syntax of Native American languages is offered by the Linguistics dept.
  • A master's degree in Spanish Linguistics (including syntax) is also available from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

Directors: Andrew Carnie (, Mike Hammond ( & Diane Ohala (

Meetings: 1 hour every 2 weeks on Fridays. Drop-in welcome but regular preferred.

The Celtic Linguistics Group is a research cluster of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates that studies the Syntax, Morphology, Phonetics and Phonology of the Modern Celtic Languages, with an emphasis on Scottish Gaelic, Breton, Welsh, Manx and Modern Irish. The Celtic Linguistics group has been the focus point for 5 major NSF research grants (see list below) and 2 smaller NSF conference and supplement grants. The group has explored a wide range of topics from experimental and instrumental measures of initial consonant mutation, to the syntax of pronoun post-posing, to corpus analysis of variation, to effective experimental methodologies in the field and to basic documentation and grammar writing. There have been a number of related and spin-off projects involving automatic speech recognition in Gaelic, language contact between Welsh and Spanish in Patagonia, and the structure of Welsh poetry.

Director: Cecile McKee (

Meetings require 60-90 minutes/week

We discuss studies of language development, especially in children. The emphasis is on experimental studies of syntax. An example of research produced by this lab is a series of studies of children’s production of relative clauses. This research shows, for example, the importance of frequency factors but distinguishes them from syntactic competence.

Directors: Jennifer Roth-Gordon (, Qing Zhang (

Linguistics Anthropology is a dynamic research space providing faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates with state-of-the-art multimedia recording equipment, private experimental facilities, data storage, analytical software, and digitization capability. It serves as a venue for teaching, linguistics anthropology lab meetings, video recordings, and language-related research.

Director: Natasha Warner (

Meetings: present recently collected data for input, get feedback on new experiment designs, practice talks or get feedback on draft posters. This lab meets for 1.5 hours every 2 weeks. Meetings are semi-open (contact Natasha first), regular attendance preferred; drop-in to check it out is okay.

Douglas Phonetics Lab

Managers: Kevan Joe (, Jonathan Geary (

Drop-in welcome but regular preferred

ELC meets to discuss issues relating to language revitalization, language policy and planning, and anything else having to do with endangered languages. We also meet to plan various activities, such as hosting a booth at the UA International Mother Language Day Celebration.

Managers: John Powell (, Jonathan Geary (

All meetings are open and on zoom unless otherwise noted. Drop-ins OK; regular participation is not expected. Please contact John Powell to receive our weekly reading(s). We meet to read and discuss research on the Yuman family of languages. Yuman languages are spoken in Arizona, California, and Baja California, and include Piipaash, Quechan, Mojave, Cocopah, Kumeyaay, and the Pai languages. Meeting topics include both linguistic and anthropological research.

Director: Sandiway Fong (

The HLT lab provides research space. There are no regular meetings. Douglass 230 is the HLT Lab available for use by all HLT students. In addition, Douglass 301/309 is also available by permission of Sandiway Fong

Director: Diana Archangeli (

Monday and Wednesday 2-3:30, all welcome! Bi-weekly meetings include presentations, reading discussions, writing and editing sessions, all with the end goal of creating resources.

Indigenous Languages of the Americas and their Structures (ILAS) is a project dedicated to supporting community-centered language revitalization, reclamation and maintenance. The primary goal of the ILAS project is to produce a series of open-access resources for language workers, with a focus on Indigenous languages of the Americas. Resources will be edited by the Saguaro Group, a collaboration among colleagues, housed at the University of Arizona.

Indigenous Languages of the American and their Structures (ILAS)

Director: Simin Karimi (

Monthly guest lectures are open to everyone interested. Check out our flyers on the departmental webpage and on our FB page:

The Iranian Linguistics Research Group was established in 2015, supported by an NSF grant, and continued by securing another NSF grant in 2019. Together with a number of faculty and students, we investigate various aspects of Iranian languages. Our main interest focuses on syntactic and phonological properties as well as morpho-syntactic and phono-syntactic interactions in these languages. Our current work concentrates on data collection, transcription as well as descriptive and theoretical analysis of several aspects of five major Iranian languages:  Balochi, Ossetian, Pashto, Persian and Sorani-Kurdish.  We work with five native speakers of these languages.  Our research is two fold: first, comparative descriptions of the sound, morphology and syntactic systems of these languages.  Second, theoretical analysis of stress and syllable structures, passive constructions, various ellipsis constructions and clitic positioning and stacking in these languages.  In addition to the major similarities between these languages, we have discovered interesting microparametic differences between them that open up new venues for research. We have also established a monthly lecture serious called Lectures on Iranian Linguistics in Arizona (LILA). Our guest speakers are linguists from various universities around the globe. These lectures, all on zoom, are open to public.

  1. PI          Simin Karimi
  2. Co-PI    Heidi Harley
  3. Co-PI    Mike Hammond

Guest faculty:  Vida Samiian. (CSU, Fresno)

Current and previous Graduate Researchers

  • Alex Hamo. (CSU, Fullerton)
  • Shahriar Hormozi
  • Luis Irizarry
  • Roya Kabiri
  • Amber Lubera
  • Jennifer Medina
  • Saman Meihami
  • Jian Gang Ngui
  • John Powell
  • Ryan Smith

Director: Tom Bever (

Meetings: Discuss on-going research by students & faculty to be informed and to help: Topics range according to Individual interests: usual topics range across issues relating to cognition, universals, acquisition neurolinguistics, reading, L1/L2 consciousness, aesthetics.. you name it. Special current focus is on brain activity during perspective and retrospective processing of language. Meetings scheduled as needed, drop-in is okay.        

Directors: Gus Hahn-Powell (, Mihai Surdeanu, Clayton Morrison, Steven Bethard, Peter Jansen         

Meetings: Friday 2-3:30pm, Gould Simpson 856. Open, drop-ins are welcome! In addition we encourage collaborations with Linguistics students. Some are even paid.

The Computational Language Understanding (CLU) Lab at University of Arizona is a team of faculty, students, and research programmers who work together to build systems that extract meaning from natural language texts, including question answering (answering natural language questions), information extraction (extracting specific relations and events), semantic role labeling (extracting semantic frames that model who did what to whom, when and where), parsing the discourse structure of complex texts, and other computational linguistics problems. These systems were used in several applications, ranging from extracting cancer signaling pathways from biomedical articles to automated systems for answering multiple-choice science-exam questions. The CLU lab includes members from the Computer Science department, the Linguistics department, and the School of Information. Access the reading link:

Director: Masha Fedzechkina (

Meetings: Regular attendance preferred; drop-in to check it out is okay. We discuss lab members' projects, practice talks, methods tutorials, publications relating to language processing/acquisition/evolution

Director: Diane Ohala (

Meetings scheduled as needed in Douglass 220 (the Nemo Room). The Phonological Acquisition Lab works with pre-school age children with normal language development as well as children with speech-language impairment. Our focus is on children's developing speech with an aim towards understanding how and why children make the particular sound errors they do, with the ultimate goal of explaining the consistent, non-random and cross-linguistic patterns that occur in the speech of young children as well as the deviations from the norm.

Director: Janet Nicol (

Meetings are scheduled as needed in Comm 314. Discussions will have to do with the ongoing research on (1) learning words/phrases in a new language and/or (2) eye-movement tracking during language comprehension. 

Directors: Adam Ussishkin ( and Andy Wedel (

All meetings are open unless otherwise noted. Drop-ins OK; regular participation is not expected. Please contact us to be added to the PsyCoL lab listserv. We meet to discuss lab members’ current research projects and as a reading group. Meeting topics include psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, statistics, typology, phonetics, phonology, morphology, and experimental methods.

PsyCol Lab

Director: Michael Hammond (                               

No regularly scheduled meetings. This lab studies psychophonology, phonology, and psycholinguistics.


Manager: Corey Roberts (

Weekly meetings that last 1-1.5 hours and are open to drop-ins as well as regular guests. We are a group committed to the exploration of the cultures and linguistic complexities of the Siouan languages (such as Crow, Hidatsa, Quapaw, Lakota, and Tutelo-Saponi et al). We focus on anthropological and linguistic literature (generally one reading per week), and we give particular emphasis to diachronic analysis of Siouan grammar. We also serve as a workshop space to assist with new analysis of languages in the family.

Director: LouAnn Gerken  (                                    

Meetings: The Tweety Language Development Lab asks how infants and young children infer aspects of linguistic structure, including phonology and syntax.

Tweet Language Development Lab