Johanna Nichols

Professor Emeritus

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: Historical linguistics; typology, including historical typology; linguistic geography and areal linguistics.
Languages: Chechen, Ingush, Russian

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Personal Statement

Teaching: All aspects of Slavic linguistics. Historical linguistics, comparative grammar, typology. Languages, peoples, and cultures of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Recent seminars on: Russian morphosyntax, linguistic writing, case and related issues in the morphological marking of NP's, language change in geographical perspective, verbal lexicon and derivational history, typology, Ingush language, Chechen language.

Research interests: Historical linguistics; typology, including historical typology; linguistic geography and areal linguistics. Syntax. Slavic languages; languages of northern Eurasia, particularly languages of the Caucasus. The linguistic and cultural prehistory of the Eurasian steppe and adjacent areas; interaction of the Slavic and North Caucasian languages with steppe languages. Slavic, Indo-European, and North Caucasian myth and folklore.

Current projects: Chechen and Ingush grammar. Transitivity, reflexivization, and aspect in Russian. Transitivity, reflexivization, and aspect in Balkan and other Slavic languages. Origin and dispersal of Slavic, of Indo-European languages.

Selected publications


Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time. University of Chicago Press, 1992

Predicate nominals: A Partial Surface Syntax of Russian. University of California Press, 1981.

Grammar Inside and Outside the Clause: Some Approaches to Theory from the Field. Co-edited with Anthony C. Woodbury. Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Noxchiin-ingals dosham / Chechen-English and English-Chechen Dictionary. With Arbi Vagapov. London: Curzon/Routledge, 2003.

Ghalghaai-ingalsii, ingalsa-ghalghaai lughat / Ingush-English and English-Ingush Dictionary. London: Curzon/Routledge, 2003.


Transitivizing and detransitivizing languages. (With David A. Peterson and Jonathan Barnes.) Linguistic Typology 8:2.149-211, 2004.

Diversity and stability in language. Brian Joseph and Richard Janda, eds., The Handbook of Historical Linguistics. London: Blackwell, 2003.

Why "me" and "thee"? Laurel Brinton, ed., Historical Linguistics. Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 1999.

"The Comparative Method as Heuristic." The Comparative Method Reviewed: Regularity and Irregularity in Language Change, ed. Mark Durie and Malcolm Ross. Oxford University Press, 1996.

"The Epicenter of the Indo-European Linguistic Spread." Archaeology and Language I: Theoretical and Methodological Orientations, ed. Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs. London: Routlege, 1997.

"The Eurasian Spread Zone and the Indo-European Dispersal." Archaeology and Language II: Correlating archaeological and Linguistic Hypotheses. ed. Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs. London: Routledge, 1999.

"Modeling Ancient Population Structures and Population Movement in Linguistics and Archeology." Annual Review of Anthropology, 26: 359-84, 1997.

"The Linguistic Geography of the Slavic Expansion." R. Maguire and A. Timberlake, eds., American Contributions to the Eleventh International Congress of Slavists. Columbus: Slavica, 1993.

"Heads in Discourse: Functional and Structural Centricity." G. Corbett et. al., eds., Heads in Grammatical Theory. Cambridge University Press.

"The linguistic geography of the Slavic expansion. In American Contributions to the Eleventh International Congress of Slavists, ed. A. Timberlake, 1993.

"Transitive and causative in the Slavic lexicon: Evidence from Russian". In Causatives and Transitivity, ed. by B. Comrie et. al. Amsterdam, 1993.

"Linguistic diversity and the first settlement of the New World." Language 66:3. (1990).

"Nominalization and assertion in scientific Russian prose." In Clause Combining in Grammar and Discourse. Edited by J. Haiman and S. A. Thompson. Philadelphia, 1988.

"Some parallels in Slavic and Northeast Caucasian folklore." In American Contributions to the Tenth International Congress of Slavists: Literature. Columbus: Slavica, 1988.

"Head-marking and dependent-marking grammar." Language, 62 (1986).

"Aspect and inversion in Russian." In The Scope of Slavic Aspect. Edited by M. S. Flier and A. Timberlake. Columbus: Slavica, 1986.

"The grammatical marking of theme in literary Russian." In Issues in Russian Morphosyntax. Edited by R. D. Brecht and M. S. Flier. Columbus: Slavica, 1985.

"Functional theories of grammar." Annual Review of Anthropology 13 (1984).

"Direct and oblique objects in Chechen-Ingush and Russian." In Objects. Edited by F. Plank. London: Academic Press, 1984.

"Prominence, cohesion, and control: Object-controlled predicate nominals in Russian." In Studies in Transitivity. Edited by P. Hopper and S. A. Thompson. New York: Academic Press, 1982.

"The meeting of East and West: Confrontation and convergence in contemporary linguistics." BLS 5: 261-76 (1979).

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