Research Interests: Phonology, Phonetics, Historical linguistics and language change, documentation of endangered languages, Austronesian languages, Australian Aboriginal languages, Native American languages
Juliette Blevins, who came to the Graduate Center in the fall 2010 semester, is a world-class phonologist and an advocate for endangered and minority languages, with expertise in Austronesian, Australian Aboriginal, Native American, and Andamanese languages. Her first book, Nhanda, an Aboriginal Language of Western Australia (2001), was based on work with the last speakers of the language, which is now extinct. Her book Evolutionary Phonology (2004) explores the nature of sound patterns and sound change in human language and presents a new theory synthesizing results in historical linguistics, phonetics, and phonological theory.
Until 2010 a senior research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Blevins has worked on a range of major projects, from continued description of the Yurok language of northwestern California, to the role of analogy in grammar, to the reconstruction of proto-languages of two distinct language groups of the Andaman Islands. A major discovery by Blevins is an ancient link between Proto-Ongan of the south Andaman Islands and Proto-Austronesian, spoken six thousand years ago in Taiwan.
Blevins holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has taught at the University of Texas, Austin; the University of Western Australia; Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Leipzig.