Andrew Garrett: Projects

CIIC 178

with Ogam Irish inscription CIIC 178, Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula, 2012

CIIC 178

with the Karuk language team at the Breath of Life Language Restoration Workshop, 2016

Yurok Language Camp, 2015

Yurok language immersion camp, Tuley Creek, 2015

I work on Karuk and Yurok (languages of northern California) and on early Indo-European languages, especially Greek, Latin, and languages belonging to the Anatolian branch (such as Hittite and Lycian). I have also worked on the history and (British) dialects of English, on comparative Austronesian (especially involving Leti, Ponapean, and Rotuman), and on the Ohlone language Rumsen (spoken around Carmel and Monterey).

I am a historical linguist interested in language change (in phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), patterns of language diversification, and methods of reconstruction. One broad aim of my historical research is to reintegrate the study of language change with linguistic theory and typology. A goal of my Americanist work is to bring philological and field work together to develop a picture of the linguistic ecology of California and the west coast. In language documentation, I am especially interested in language documentation projects whose products serve both academic linguists and indigenous communities. I have found that digital databases and online resources are flexible enough to benefit a variety of users.

Historical and Indo-European linguistics

My historical work falls into two main areas: language diversification and the mechanisms of language change. Recent work under the first rubric includes "Descent and diffusion in language diversification: A study of Western Numic dialectology", with Molly Babel, Michael Houser, and Maziar Toosarvandani, in International Journal of American Linguistics 79 (2013); and "Ancestry-constrained phylogenetic analysis supports the Indo-European steppe hypothesis", with Will Chang, Chundra Cathcart, and David Hall, in Language 91 (2015). The latter paper won the Linguistic Society of America's Best Paper in Language Award. Recent work under the second rubric includes "The historical syntax problem: Reanalysis and directionality", in Grammatical change: Origins, nature, outcomes, ed. by Dianne Jonas, John Whitman, and Andrew Garrett (Oxford University Press, 2012); "Phonetic bias in sound change", with Keith Johnson, in Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization", edited by Alan C. L. Yu (Oxford University Press, 2012); and "Sound change", in The Routledge handbook of historical linguistics, edited by Claire Bowern and Bethwyn Evans (Routledge, 2015).

Karuk language and linguistics

Website: Ararahih'urípih, a dictionary and text corpus of the Karuk language

Line Mikkelsen and I have worked to document and analyze aspects of Karuk semantics, syntax, morphology, and phonology. We and earlier generations of linguists (such as William Bright and J. P. Harrington) have recorded many texts; concrete goals include the development of a morphologically and syntactically parsed corpus that will facilitiate the study of numerous poorly understood aspects of Karuk syntax. We've worked with first-language Karuk speakers and with younger learners and language activists and teachers, and we've been helped by many undergraduates and especially by graduate students Erik H. Maier and Clare Sandy.

Language archiving

Websites: California Language Archive, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages

I direct the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, which supports endangered-language fieldwork projects and houses an extensive physical archive of documentary materials collected since the 1950s (and earlier). In collaboration with Ronald Sprouse and many graduate students (especially Amy Campbell, Hannah Haynie, Justin Spence, John Sylak-Glassman, and Maziar Toosarvandani), I also supervised the development of a new catalog and online archive for indigenous languages of California, western North America, and the western hemisphere. The California Language Archive (CLA) includes full collection information and select digital content (audio and scanned manuscript images) from the Berkeley Language Center, the Survey, and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, as well as some items from the Bancroft Library. The CLA is one of the largest language archives in the western hemisphere. A current CLA project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, involves the use of non-invasive optical-scanning technology to recover audio from three thousand early-twentieth-century wax cylinder recordings held by the Heaarst Museum.

Yurok linguistics and philology

Website: Yurok Language Project

This work has goals that include language documentation, the development of an archive of Yurok texts and audio recordings, and the production of language resources for the Yurok community. We have done documentary work with the late Aileen Figueroa, Jimmie James, Glenn Moore, Jr., Archie Thompson, Georgiana Trull, and Jessie Van Pelt, and we have worked on language teaching with many others in the Yurok community. Juliette Blevins and I have directed this project; Berkeley students who have worked on this project over the years include Lisa Conathan, Adrienne Mamin, James Martin, Yoram Meroz, Mary Paster, Alysoun Quinby, William Richard, Kevin Ryan, Tess Wood, and many others.

In addition to documentary, descriptive, and analytic work on Yurok, I am preparing editions of Yurok texts recorded in the early twentieth century. Many of these texts are published in English translation (in A. L. Kroeber's Yurok myths), but many are not, and in any case the original Yurok texts have mostly never been published. Several texts and text groups are of unusual interest, both for their content and because they have never been published in Yurok or in English translation:

Geographical texts • In 1907, at the two ends of Yurok territory along the Klamath River, Kroeber recorded texts describing traditional geography and land and fishing rights: Captain Spott's account of the area north of the river mouth; and Domingo's account of the Weitchpec area.

Menstruation texts • Two versions of traditional menstruation formulas (ceremonial language) were recorded from Susie of Weitchpec in 1902 (one from dictation, one on wax cylinders), and in 1907 an account of girls' puberty practices and a myth about the origin of girls' puberty were recorded from Pecwan Doctor.

Coast Yurok • The only surviving text in a coast dialect of Yurok, and the only known source of information about Coast Yurok morphology and syntax, is a 20-minute narrative, recorded on wax cylinders in 1907, of the famous 1860 raid on Stone Lagoon and the kidnapping of a Yurok woman who lived there.