Invited Speakers

MAYA RAVINDRANATH ABTAHIAN is a sociolinguist who studies language variation and change, with a special interest in language contact, maintenance and shift. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester in the Department of Linguistics and received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation focused on language variation in Garifuna, a Central American Arawak language in contact with Belizean Kriol in Belize. In addition to ongoing work on Garifuna she is currently involved in two projects: one that explores language shift in Indonesia, and a second that examines language variation and change in the context of the deindustrialization of northern US cities.

Maya Ravindranath Abtahian​

University of Rochester

MONICA DJESÚS RAMÍREZ is a speaker of Copala Triqui who moved from Oaxaca, Mexico to the United States as a young teenager. She is a 2018 alumna of the University at Albany, where she majored in Criminal Justice, and Psychology. De Jesus Ramírez is trilingual in Triqui, Spanish, and English and has professional experience in legal and medical interpretation. She has collaborated with linguists on a wide range of projects including the Albany Triqui Working Group's Trilingual audio-visual dictionary. She is a founding member of Triquis sin Fronteras, a community group dedicated to preserving and promoting Triqui culture abroad, practicing participatory democracy, equal rights, and multiculturalism.

Monica De Jesús Ramírez

Triquis Sin Fronteras

MARC GARELLEK is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego. His linguistic work with diaspora communities involves phonetic research on Hmong, a Hmong-Mien language from China and Southeast Asia that is spoken by several hundred thousand speakers in the US. The Hmong community in the United States was founded in the 1970’s with a wave of immigration of refugees, mostly from Laos, following the Vietnam War. In partnership with the Lao-Hmong Family Association of San Diego, he has been developing the San Diego Hmong Language Project, whose goal is to document and translate Hmong songs and stories as recorded by members of the local community.

Marc Garellek

UC San Diego

LAURA KALIN is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Princeton University, with research interests in theoretical linguistics, especially in the areas of morphology and syntax. For her dissertation research at the University of California, Los Angeles, she began working locally with speakers of Neo-Aramaic languages, Semitic languages descended from Old/Middle Aramaic vernacular dialects. Most Neo-Aramaic languages are now spoken predominantly or entirely in diaspora communities around the world. Her current research centers on Turoyo, a Neo-Aramaic language originally spoken in southeast Turkey and northeast Syria, which she studies within a diaspora community in northern New Jersey. She has published on various aspects of Neo-Aramaic morphosyntax, including aspect marking, differential object agreement, and word formation. 

Laura Kalin

Princeton University

DANIEL KAUFMAN is an assistant professor of linguistics at CUNY, Queens College and a founder and co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, a non-profit organization involved in the documentation and support of languages spoken by indigenous and immigrant communities in New York City. He has worked with various immigrant communities on questions of grammar, language use, language transmission, linguistic rights and discrimination in urban diasporas. His linguistic research has focused primarily on the Austronesian languages of Island Southeast Asia and he serves as co-editor of the journal Oceanic Linguistics.

Daniel Kaufman

CUNY, Queens College

FELIPE H. LOPEZ was born in San Lucas Quiaviní, Oaxaca.  His first language was Zapotec. At the age of 16 he came to Los Angeles, California, speaking no English and little Spanish.  There he began documenting his language and working on language valorization projects.  In 1999 he published a trilingual Zapotec-Spanish-English dictionary on his language (Munro & Lopez, et al. 1999). Meanwhile he continued his education and in 2007 he completed his Ph.D. in Urban Planning at UCLA. Since then he has taught Valley Zapotec language classes at the University of California San Diego, UCLA, and Haverford College. His Zapotec language poems have appeared in the Latin American Literary ReviewThe Acentos Review, and Latin American Literature Today.  His short story Liaza chaa 'I am going home' won the 2017 Premios CaSa award for the creation of Zapotec literature. He is currently working on a book of Zapotec poems. 

UC San Diego

Felipe H. Lopez

MAI MOUA was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and migrated to San Diego, California at the age of 2. Her native language is the Green Hmong dialect. At the age of 13, she learned the White Hmong dialect through listening to songs, watching movies, and conversing with friends. As a member of the diasporic Hmong Community, she was inspired to work on the San Diego Hmong Language Project with Marc Gallerek as a Research Assistant in recruiting community members to share their songs and stories; in addition, transcribing and translating the recordings. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts and is a premedical student at Northeastern University. 

Mai Moua

San Diego Hmong Language Project

DIANNA SHANDY is Associate Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship and Professor of Anthropology at Macalester College. She is a 2019-20 American Council on Education Fellow. She has worked on migration and diaspora issues for more than 20 years within U.S. and international settings. She is the author/editor of four books, including Nuer-American Passages: Globalizing Sudanese Migration. Her work has focused on African asylum seekers in Ireland, global childhood and the state, religion and forced migration, and UNHCR’s Global Initiative on Somali Refugees. She has been a Fellow at the Offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and has served as President and Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration; Book Review Editor for Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees; and on the editorial boards of International Migration and Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies.

Macalester College

Dianna Shandy

MICHAL TEMKIN MARTÍNEZ’s linguistic research focuses on the languages of those who are resettled in Boise, Idaho as refugees. She directs the Boise Language Project, which integrates teaching, research, and community service, which trains undergraduate students to work with community members on a variety of community-oriented projects. Recent projects include a mobile app, The Languages of Boise (to be launched in late summer 2019), containing language and cultural resources for service providers and the broader Boise community to be better able to communicate with newly arrived members of the community. She has published on diverse topics including the phonetics of the Bantu language Somali-Chizigula (also Mushungulu; Temkin Martínez and Rosenbaum 2017) and applied linguistics in a healthcare setting (Soelberg et al. 2015; Black et al 2015).

Michal Temkin Martínez

Boise State University

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