Current Projects

Several projects are ongoing that involve fieldwork:

Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara)

Funded by the National Science Foundation DEL, this project involves producing a reference grammar of Choguita Raramuri, an endangered Uto-Aztecan language of Mexico, as well as assisting community members in documentation and writing descriptive and theoretically informed papers. Project members: Gabriela Caballero, Lucien Carroll, Andres Aguilar, Marc Garellek.
Former undergrad research assistants: Patrick Mullen, Sean Stein


Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Moro Language Project is compiling a grammar of Moro, an understudied endangered language of Sudan, as well as writing descriptive and theoretically informed papers. Project members: Farrell Ackerman, Sharon Rose, Peter Jenks (UC Berkeley), Laura Kertz, and language consultants, Elyasir Julima, Ikhlas Elahmer, Angelo Naser. Graduate students Younah Chung and Amanda Ritchart have also been helping investigate some phonetic properties of the language. Previous researchers: George Gibbard, Hannah Rohde (Edinburgh), Andrew Strabone, Andy Hsiu.

Border Spanish

Originally funded by a UCSD Academic Senate grant, this project is investigating the phonological, morphological, syntactic and sociolinguistic aspects of the Spanish spoken in the Tijuana/San Diego border region. R. Mata is finishing his dissertation on the syntactic structure of Border Spanish. Project members: John Moore and Rodolfo Mata


The study of Mixtec began as an undergraduate research project by Carlos Cisneros (now a PhD student in linguistics at U of Chicago) with the cooperation of Valentina Torres and the Familia Indígena Unida community center in San Diego. Carlos received funding from a UCSD Latino Studies Research Initiative Summer Research Grant and along with his adviser, Ivano Caponigro, studied free relatives in Nieves Mixtec and published a paper in IJAL. The 2012 and 2013 field methods classes studied the same variety of Mixtec, and Lucien Carroll completed his dissertation Ixpantepec Nieves Mixtec Word Prosodic Phonology in 2015, funded by a UC Mexus grant. Younah Chung and Amanda Ritchart presented their work on intonation at SSILA in Jan. 2014 and at the Workshop on Sound Systems of Mexico and Central America in April 2014.


Andres Aguilar is working on Chicontepec Nahuatl phonology and morphology. He conducted fieldwork in Mexico in summer 2014 and 2015, funded by a UC Mexus grant.


Kati Hout is continuing the research she started as an undergraduate at Ohio State on Mushunguli (or Somali Chizigula), an endangered Bantu language. Many Mushunguli speakers live in diaspora communities in Kenya, Tanzania and the U.S.

Languages studied in fieldwork classes

Each graduate student in linguistics is required to take a minimum of one quarter of Field Methods. Languages studied in the past include:

  • CURRENT: Tipai Kumiai (Yuman) - spoken in Mexico
  • Bari (Nilotic) - spoken in South Sudan
  • Nieves Mixtec (Oto-Manguean) - spoken in Mexico
  • Purepecha (isolate) - spoken in Mexico
  • Gitonga (Bantu) - spoken in Mozambique
  • Somali (Cushitic) - spoken in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia
  • Moro (Kordofanian) - spoken in Sudan
  • Vietnamese (Austro-Asiatic) - spoken in Vietnam
  • Romanian (Romance) - spoken in Romania
  • Trukese (Austronesian) - spoken in Chuuk, Micronesia
  • Armenian (Indo-European) - spoken in Armenia