Connor-Linton_JeffJeffrey T. Connor-Linton

Associate Professor 
Interests: Cross-cultural (mis)communication, language assessment, quantitative discourse analysis, second language acquisition, study abroad and foreign language learning

Jeff Connor-Linton (Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Southern California) joined the Linguistics Department at Georgetown in 1989, and was Department Chair from 1999-2003. He uses a multi-dimensional, quantitative approach to discourse analysis to investigate processes of cross-cultural (mis)communication, language assessment, and second language acquisition. His current research is a stylistic analysis of new web genres. He is co-editor of the Cambridge University Press textbook, An Introduction to Language and Linguistics (2nd edition). Dr. Connor-Linton is Past President and current Secretary-Treasurer of the American Association for Applied Linguistics. 


Cynthia GordonCynthia Gordon

Associate Professor 
Vice-Chair, Department of Linguistics
Interests: Discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, theories of framing and intertextuality, linguistic construction of relationships and identities, digital/online discourse

Cynthia Gordon uses theories and methods of discourse analysis to examine everyday social interactions in family, educational, health, and online/digital contexts. Author of Making Meanings, Creating Family (Oxford, 2009), she was a 2012-2013 fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Her current research focuses on intertextuality and metadiscourse in online discussion boards; she is also involved with collaborative projects on the topics of professional identity socialization and mobile phone communication.

Heidi HamiltonHeidi E. Hamilton

Professor (website)
Interests: Discourse analysis,  intertextuality, institutional discourse, health discourse, language and Alzheimer’s disease

Heidi E. Hamilton is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University, where she has taught courses in linguistic discourse analysis and applications of interactional sociolinguistics since 1990. Her researcand consulting interests focus on the interrelationships between language and a variety of health care issues and contexts. Her books include Conversations with an Alzheimer's Patient, Language and Communication in Old Age: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Glimmers: A Journey into Alzheimer's Disease, Blackwell Handbook of Discourse Analysis (with Schiffrin and Tannen), Linguistics, Language, and the Professions (with Alatis and Tan), and the Routledge Handbook of Language and Health Communication (with Chou),  and Language, Dementia and Meaning Making: Navigating Everyday Challenges of Epistemic Understanding and Face (in preparation).

Ruth KramerRuth T. Kramer

Associate Professor (website)
Director, Theoretical Linguistics Concentration
Interests: Syntax, morphology, Amharic, Ancient Egyptian, gender, number, agreement, clitics, Distributed Morphology, minimalism

Ruth Kramer conducts research on the syntax and morphology of Amharic (Ethiosemitic) and Ancient Egyptian, specializing in gender, number, definite-marking, and agreement. Her monograph The Morphosyntax of Gender will be published by Oxford University Press in Fall 2015, and she has had papers accepted at such journals as Natural Language and Linguistic Theory,Linguistic Inquiry, Syntax and Lingua. She regularly consults with members of the local Ethiopian immigrant community who speak Amharic as part of her research; please contact her if you speak Amharic and are interested in becoming involved. She also teaches courses on syntax and morphology in the department, including Grammatical Analysis.

David LightfootDavid Lightfoot

Director, Communication, Culture & Technology Program 
Co-director, Interdisciplinary PhD-Level in Cognitive Science
Interests: Syntactic variation, diachronic change, childhood acquisition, role of linguistics in the brain and cognitive sciences

David Lightfoot writes on syntactic theory, language acquisition and historical change, which he views as intimately related. He argues that internal language change is contingent and fluky, takes place in a sequence of bursts, and is best viewed as the cumulative effect of changes in individual grammars, where a grammar is a "language organ" represented in a person's mind/brain. That entails a non-standard view of language acquisition as "cue-based." He came to Georgetown in 2001 as dean of the Graduate School. From 2005 he served as Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation, heading the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, returning to Georgetown in 2009.

Sue LorensonSue Lorenson

Senior Associate Dean, Georgetown College 
Adjunct Lecturer

Interests: Phonology, language processing, linguistics and reading, language and the brain

Sue Lorenson (PhD, U. of Arizona;  BA, Swarthmore College) has taught for the department since 1999.  Her day job is as an academic dean in Georgetown College, where she oversees the advising of the junior and senior classes.  She advises linguistics, foreign language and psychology majors, and partners with related academic departments on curricular, planning and administrative issues.

Alison MackeyAlison Mackey

Professor (website)
Director of Graduate Studies
Interests: Second Language Acquisition: input, interaction, corrective feedback and individual differences in L2 learning, research methodology, quantitative and qualitative approaches, second dialect acquisition and linguistic identity construction

Alison Mackey does research into how second languages are learned and how they might best be taught. Her interests include interaction-driven L2 learning, L2 research methodology and the applications of interaction through task-based language teaching, as well as second language dialects and identities. She has published over 60 journal articles and book chapters, and 11 books in total, including the state of the art (2012) Handbook of SLA. She is the editor of Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, published by CUP, and co-director of the Instruments for Research into Second Languages database project (funded by ESRC and the British Academy).

Margaret MaloneMargaret Malone

Teaching Professor
Director, AELRC
Interests: Language assessment, assessment literacy, study abroad, program evaluation and the current state of graduate programs in applied linguistics

Margaret E. Malone (Ph.D., Georgetown University) is Director of the AELRC and Teaching Professor at Georgetown. She is also Director of the Center for Assessment, Research and Development at ACTFL. She has more than two decades of experience in language test development, materials development, delivery of professional development and teacher training through both online and face-to-face methods, data collection and survey research, and program evaluation. Her current research focuses on language assessment literacy, oral proficiency assessment and the relative difficulty of learning different languages.

COrey Miller

Adjunct Lecturer
Interests: Phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, dialectology, speech synthesis (text-to-speech), speech recognition, Persian, French, Spanish, German, Hebrew

Corey Miller received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, where his dissertation focused on pronunciation modeling in speech synthesis. Corey engaged in a career in the speech technology industry, exploring both speech synthesis and recognition, with a primary interest in foreign languages and phonetic/phonological issues. He then worked at the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland where he initiated a Persian research program. Recently, Corey joined the MITRE Corporation where he is expanding back into human language technology more broadly. At Georgetown, Corey hopes to marry his long-term interests in sociolinguistics and dialectology with speech technology.

Jennifer NyczJennifer Nycz

Assistant Professor (website)
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Interests: Phonological variation, sociolinguistics, (socio)phonetics, phonological theory,  dialect contact, change over the lifespan, vowel systems, accommodation & style-shifting, individual differences in language variation, research methods in phonetics

Jennifer Nycz is a sociolinguist interested in phonological variation: she studies the linguistic, social, and developmental factors affecting how we pronounce the words and sounds of our language, and what such patterns reveal about linguistic representations and linguistic processes. She has published several articles and book chapters on second dialect acquisition and research methods in sociophonetics. Her current work examines how mobile speakers accommodate to new regional dialect forms and how they use variants associated with their home and adoptive regions to convey aspects of place identity.

Anastasia NylundAnastasia Nylund

Assistant Teaching Professor (website)
Director, MLC Program
Interests: Style, phonological variation, language and ethnicity, interactional sociolinguistics, stance, metalanguage, language ideology, professional applications of linguistics, linguistics career education

Anastasia Nylund uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate the how speakers use socially meaningful linguistic features to navigate issues of race, place, and identity in interaction. Her recent work examines the links between phonological variation, constructed dialogue and stancetaking in discourse about social change in Washington, DC. As the Director of the MA in Language and Communication, she teaches courses in sociolinguistics and does outreach work to promote applications of linguistics across professional fields. She is the co-editor (with Deborah Schiffrin and Anna De Fina) of Telling Stories: Language, Narrative, and Social Life (2009, Georgetown University Press).

Lourdes OrtegaLourdes Ortega

Professor (website)
Director, Applied Linguistics Concentration
Convener, Initiative for Multilingual Studies (website)
Interests: Second language acquisition, usage-based linguistics, bi/multilingualism, interfaces between L2 writing and L2 development, systematic research synthesis, epistemology and ethics in applied linguistics.

Lourdes Ortega investigates second language acquisition and focuses on the instructed development of bi/multilingual competencies in adult classroom settings. She has long-standing interests in the study of bilingualism across the lifespan, usage-based linguistics, second language writing, systematic research synthesis, and epistemology and ethics in applied linguistics. Co-recipient of the Pimsleur and the TESOL Research awards (2000), she has also been a doctoral Mellon fellow (1999), a postdoctoral Spencer/National Academy of Education fellow (2003), and a senior research fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (2010). She is past editor of Language Learning (2010-2015) and serves on the editorial boards of this and a number of other journals.


Paul PortnerPaul Portner

Professor (website)
Interests: Semantics, pragmatics, logic, philosophy of language, modality, mood, imperatives, corpus linguistics

Paul Portner is a specialist in semantics and its interfaces with syntax and pragmatics. He has worked on a variety of topics, and is most well-known for research on modality, imperatives, clause type systems, and aspect. His interest in the nature of linguistic meaning first developed when he studied philosophy with a minor in linguistics at Princeton. He did his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he wrote a dissertation Situation Theory and the Semantics of Propositional Expressions under the direction of Barbara Hall Partee. Since coming to Georgetown in 1993, Paul has co-led two NSF-funded research projects, has written or co-edited several books, and has published many journal articles and book chapters.


Picture of Professor Hannah SandeHannah Sande

Assistant Professor (website)
Interests: Phonology, Morphology, The phonology/morphology interface, language documentation, Kru, Semitic, African languages

Hannah Sande carries out documentary and theoretical linguistic research. Her theoretical work investigates the interaction of phonology with morphology and syntax, based original data primarily from African languages. She has spent many summers in West Africa working with speakers of Guébie, an otherwise undocumented Kru language spoken in Côte d'Ivoire. She also works locally with speakers of Amharic (Ethiosemitic), Dafing (Mande), and Nouchi (contact language, Côte d'Ivoire). Her dissertation, completed at UC Berkeley, focuses on phonological processes and their interaction with morphosyntax, based on data from Guébie, where much of the morphology is non-affixal but rather involves root-internal changes like tone shift or vowel alternations.

Natalie SchillingNatalie Schilling

Director, Sociolinguistics Concentration
Interests: Language variation and change, stylistic variation, sociolinguistic field methods, forensic linguistics

Natalie Schilling specializes in sociolinguistics, especially the quantitative investigation of language variation and change and how it is shaped by, and helps shape, social factors such as regionality, ethnicity and gender. She is particularly interested in stylistic (i.e. intra-speaker) variation and forensic linguistics. She directs the department’s ongoing sociolinguistic investigation of Language and Communication in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area (LCDC), as well as Smith Island Voices, a real and apparent time study of the endangered dialect community of Smith Island, Maryland. She is the author of Sociolinguistic Fieldwork (2013, Cambridge University Press), co-author (with Walt Wolfram) of American English: Dialects and Variation, 3rd edition (2016, Wiley-Blackwell), and co-editor (with J.K. Chambers) of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2nd edition (2013, Wiley-Blackwell).

NAThan Schneider

Assistant Professor (website)
Interests: computational linguistics/natural language processing; lexical semantics; form-meaning interface; adpositions and case; cognitive linguistics; corpus annotation; machine learning; English, Hebrew, Arabic

Nathan Schneider joins the Georgetown faculty as an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Computer Science. He received his BA in 2008 from UC Berkeley, with a double-major in Linguistics and Computer Science, and his PhD in 2014 from Carnegie Mellon University, Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science.  Nathan's research addresses the semantics of natural language text, examining both how humans can represent meaning computationally, and how algorithms can recover meaning from text for scientific inquiry and for natural language processing applications.  His publications have appeared in the journals Computational Linguistics and Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, as well as proceedings of conferences including ACL, NAACL, EACL, EMNLP, and LREC.  Nathan comes to Georgetown from the University of Edinburgh, where he has been a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Informatics Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation.

Jennifer SclafaniJennifer Sclafani

Associate Teaching Professor
Interests: Discourse analysis, language and identity, political discourse, gender, cross-cultural communication, migration, language ideologies

Jennifer Sclafani is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University, where she has been teaching courses in sociolinguistics, language and gender, and cross-cultural communication since 2011. Her research focuses on the discursive construction of political identity in presidential debates. She is also conducting a study on heritage language speakers, language ideologies, and return migration to Greece from the diaspora. Her publications have appeared in Journal of Sociolinguistics, Discourse & Society, and Language in Society. Previously, Jennifer taught at Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece, where she continues to hold a position as visiting professor.

Shaligram ShuklaShaligram Shukla

Associate Professor 
Interests: Historical linguistics, historical Phonology of Russian, ethnography of poetry, anthropological linguistics, comparative Indo-European, comparative Algonquin, history of the English Language, Sanskrit

Shaligram Shukla (Ph. D. Cornell University. Theoretical Linguistics, Comparative Indo-European, Anthropology) is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, where he has taught Historical Linguistics, Comparative Indo-European, Comparative Algonquin, History of the English Language, Historical Phonology of Russian, Sanskrit, Anthropological Linguistics, and Ethonography of poetry. His books include (Hindi literature): Palestine ke Giit (poetry), Apne Apne Aakhet (short stories) Vaadya Yantra (poetry), Kanchan Mrig (short stories), Kala Hans (short stories), Raga Desh-Videsh (poetry), A Murder in Tokyo. 2013 (A novel in English). (Linguistics): Il mutamento linguistico (with Jeff Connor-Linton in Italian). Hindi Phonology. Hindi Morphology. Bhojpuri Grammar.

Nicholas Subtirelu

Assistant Teaching Professor (website)
Interests: Educational linguistics, ideology, critical discourse analysis, social justice, globalization, and the spread of English(es)

Nic Subtirelu is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Applied Linguistics concentration. He is interested in the role of language and discourse in education. In particular, he explores how educational institutions respond to linguistic diversity and how they might implement more inclusive practices and policies. Nic was a National Academy of Education / Spencer dissertation fellow (2015-2016) and earned his doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. His recent publications have appeared in Applied Linguistics, Language in Society, and System.

Deborah TannenDeborah Tannen

University Professor (website)
Interests: Discourse analysis; analyzing everyday conversation, including conversations over social media; family interaction; cross-cultural communication; language and gender

Deborah Tannen is a discourse analyst whose research uses the theoretical frameworks and methods of interactional sociolinguistics to examine conversational interaction, cross-cultural communication, gender and language, and new media discourse. Among her 24 books are Conversational Style (Oxford), Talking Voices (Cambridge), Gender and Discourse (Oxford), That’s Not What I Meant! (HarperCollins), You Just Don’t Understand (William Morrow), Talking from 9 to 5 (William Morrow), You’re Wearing THAT? (Ballantine), and You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! (Ballantine). She is currently writing a book about conversations among women friends. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. She has been a member of the Linguistics Department faculty since 1979.

Amelia Tseng

Assistant Teaching Professor (website)
Interests: Sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; discourse analysis; bilingualism; language and identity; ethnicity; migration and diasporic communities; language contact practices

Amelia received her M.S. and Ph.D in Linguistics from Georgetown University and M.A. in Spanish Linguistics from Arizona State University. She is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and Scholar in Residence in the School of Education at American University, where she directed the Bilingual Education program from 2014-2016 and is Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. Her interests center on language, identity, and mobility in multilingual immigrant communities. Her research and teaching have been recognized through grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, Society for Applied Anthropology, Georgetown University, and American University. She is currently leading a research project on “Bilingualism and Latin@s in D.C.: Exploring Language Use and Cultural Identity, Resource Access, and Metropolitan Mobility" with a $10,000 grant from the AU Metropolitan Policy Center, and researching the evolution of D.C. Latino community identity using Smithsonian archival texts and recordings. She has taught linguistics, Spanish, and bilingual education at the university level; K-12 Spanish and other subjects; and led international education, outreach, and diversity programs.


Amir ZeldesAmir Zeldes

Assistant Professor (website)
Director, Computational Linguistics Concentration
Interests: corpus linguistics, syntax-semantics interface, usage-based grammar, productivity, multifactorial methods, corpus-based historical linguistics, natural language processing, digital humanities

Amir Zeldes is a specialist in corpus linguistics. He has developed software for corpus annotation, search and visualization, and is particularly interested in multilayer corpora, which model concurrent analyses for morphology, syntax, semantics, coreference and more. His theoretical research focuses on the syntax-semantics interface, where meaning and knowledge about the world are mapped onto lexical choice in language-specific ways. His book Productivity in Argument Selection: From Morphology to Syntax explores the idea that constructions have idiosyncratic degrees of innovation that speakers must learn in each language. He has worked on a variety of topics and languages, including second language writing in German and Natural Language Processing for under-resourced languages, such as Egyptian Coptic.

Elizabeth ZsigaElizabeth Zsiga

Professor (website)
Department Chair
Interests: Phonology, phonetics, and their interface, especially Articulatory Phonology, L2 phonology, Laboratory Phonology, and tone. Languages researched include Setswana, Serbian, Korean, Thai, Russian, Igbo, English

Elizabeth Zsiga’s research investigates linguistic sound patterns: phonetics, phonology, and their interface. She is particularly interested in cases where phonetic data (acoustic and articulatory measurements) can elucidate more abstract cognitive constructs. (See her 2013 textbook: The Sounds of Language.) Languages she has investigated include Igbo, American English, Russian, Thai, Korean, and Korean-accented English. She also works on post-nasal devoicing and labio-coronal fricatives in Setswana and Sebirwa (with One Boyer) and dialect variation in pitch accent in Serbian (with Draga Zec). She earned her Ph.D. in linguistics in 1993 from Yale and has been a faculty member at Georgetown since 1994.