The Research Group in Native American Linguistics


The department of linguistics at the University of Arizona was established with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities as a center for the study of Native American linguistics and for the training of Native American linguists.  Over the years, this rich area of research has grown to encompass the study of language endangerment and revitalization, language documentation, language rights, and language reclamation within the US and around the globe.  The research group in Endangered Languages, Language Revitalization and Documentation includes faculty and graduate students working with and among endangered language communities all over the world, and supports the Master of Arts in Native American Linguistics (NAMA) and the Language Revitalization specialization within the Ph.D. program.  Many faculty and students in this group benefit from participation in various capacities with the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI), which offers an unparalleled opportunity for members of the Department to become actively involved in community-centered research.

 Research Group Participants

 Faculty with primary interests in Native American Linguistics:

  • Ofelia Zepeda, Regents' Professor & Director of the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) (Ph.D. U Arizona 1984). Tohono O'odham Linguistics, Language Maintenance. (Department of Linguistics)
  • Natasha Warner, Prof (Ph.D. UC Berkeley) Mutsun Language, Language Maintenance, Phonetics
  • Amy Fountain, Associate Professor, NTE (Ph.D. U. Arizona 1998).   Language revitalization and documentation, repatriation of language resources (Coeur d'Alene), Navajo language, Native American linguistics.
  • Robert Henderson, Asst. Prof. (Ph.D. UCSC 2012) Mesoamerican Languages (especially Mayan), Semantics, Morphology (Department of Linguistics)
  • Wilson de Lima Silva (ph.D of Utah: Amazonian Linguixtixs, Tukanoan languages, Language Documentation, Language Conversation & Revitalization.

Faculty with secondary interests in Native American Linguistics:

  • Andrew Carnie, Professor of Linguistics and Dean of the Graduate College, (Ph.D. MIT 1995) Mayan Languages, Case & Ergativity, Morphology, Theoretical Syntax (Department of Linguistics)
  • Michael Hammond, Prof (Ph.D. UCLA, 1984) Dictionaries of Native American languages, Phonology. (Department of Linguistics)
  • Heidi Harley, Asst. Prof. (Ph.D. MIT 1995) Uto Aztecan lexical semantics & syntax, morphology (Department of Linguistics) "Hiaki morphology and syntax".
  • Rudy Troike Prof. (Ph.D. ) Syntactic Theory, Native American Syntax & Morphology (Department of English)
  • Diana Archangeli, Professor of Linguistics and Director of Graduate Studies, (Ph.D MIT 1984) sound systems

Graduate Students Affiliates:

  • Mosiah Bluecloud
  • Gabriela De La Cruz Sanchez
  • Jesus Gonzalez Franco
  • Megan Harvey
  • Kevan Joe
  • Alice Kwak
  • Joseph Marks
  • Christina Newhall
  • John Powell
  • Samantha Prins
  • Corey Roberts
  • Nelson Santiago
  • Wunetu Tarrant
  • Gabriela Vargas Melgarejo


  • Lynnika Butler
  • Phil Cash-Cash
  • Rolando Coto
  • Joseph Dupris
  • Jonathan Geary
  • Bryan James Gordon
  • Tania Granadillo
  • Keisha Joseph
  • Colleen Patton
  • Louise St. Amour
  • Cosette Terry-Itewaste
  • Patrick Thomas

Research Projects

Graduate Programs in Native American Linguistics

The research group, in coordination with the department of linguistics, sponsors a Ph.D. in Linguistics with a specialization in Native American Linguistics and related areas.

A masters degree in the description of Native American languages is also offered by the Linguistics dept. More information can be found here!