Bio

When my high school choir director introduced a Latin piece into our repertoire during my freshman year, I was curious about how to pronounce the text. I discovered some diction books for classical singers, which helped me learn much of the IPA and some basic principles of phonology. A few years later, I moved on to pursue a double major in linguistics and music from the University of Rochester, studying voice at its Eastman School of Music. There, I began to see how my musical training provided me with aural and structural analysis skills that proved beneficial for linguistic research. My interest in Bantu languages stems from living in Durban, South Africa, as a child (1995-1996), and also from drawing Ikalanga from a hat to be my research language for my first linguistics class. In my graduate work in linguistics from Yale University, I gathered data on the morphosyntax of Shona, Ikalanga’s closest relative, resulting in my PhD dissertation on Shona wh-questions. It seems that I’ve come full circle, but maybe I should wait to say that until I get to teach my course on language and music.

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