Juliette Blevins

headshot of Juliette Blevins

Research Interests

  • Phonology, phonetics, historical linguistics and language change, linguistic typology, the documentation and description of endangered and minority languages, endangered language research, Austronesian languages, Australian Aboriginal languages, Native Am


  • Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • B.A. in French and Linguistics from Barnard College, Columbia University

Juliette Blevins is a world-class phonologist, historical linguist, and an advocate for endangered and minority languages, with expertise in linguistic typology, Austronesian languages, Australian Aboriginal languages, indigenous languages of North America, and the history of Basque.

Blevins is prolific, with over 100 publications covering descriptive, synchronic and diachronic studies. Her first book, Nhanda, an Aboriginal Language of Western Australia, was based on fieldwork with the last speakers of the language, which has now become dormant. Blevins' second book, Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound Patterns, explored the nature of sound patterns and sound change in human language and presented a new theory synthesizing results in historical linguistics, phonetics, and phonological theory. As a senior research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Blevins worked on a range of major projects, from continued description of the Yurok language of northwestern California, to the role of analogy in grammar, and the reconstruction of proto-languages of two distinct language groups of the Andaman Islands. In her most recent book, Advances in Proto-Basque Reconstruction with Evidence for the Proto-European-Euskarian Hypothesis, Blevins provides evidence that the Basque language, once thought to be an isolate, is distantly related to Proto-Indo-European, the widely accepted ancestor of all Indo-European languages. Before coming to The Graduate Center, Blevins taught at the University of Texas, Austin, the University of Western Australia, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Leipzig. She is currently Presidential Professor in Linguistics and Director of the Endangered Language Initiative at The Graduate Center.

Awards and Grants

Professor Blevins is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award at the University of Texas Austin, research awards from the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Islander Studies, the Australian Research Council and the National Science Foundation. In 2016 she was named International Chair in Empirical Foundations in Linguistics by the French National Center for Scientific Research and in 2020, she was inducted as a Fellow by the Linguistic Society of America.

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

  • Association for Linguistic Typology
  • The Australian Linguistic Society
  • The Linguistic Society of America
  • Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Linguistics (for majors and non-majors)
  • Introduction to Phonetics (for majors and non-majors)
  • Phonology (all levels, including graduate seminars on the syllable, feature theory, metrical theory, Australian Aboriginal languages, Austronesian languages, Evolutionary Phonology)
  • Morphology (all levels)
  • Linguistic Typology (all levels)
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Indigenous languages of North America
  • Structure of English (for majors and non-majors)
  • The Yurok Language

Recent Selected Publications 

(For complete list, see CV)

  • Blevins, J. 2020b. Sound patterns and sound change: new threads in the panchronic tapestry. In I. Leblic et L. Souag (eds.) Du terrain à la théorie. Les 40 ans du LACITO. Villejuif: LACITOPublications, Hors série 1: 255-274.
  • Blevins, J. 2020a. Derivational patterns in Proto-Basque word structure. In L. Körtvélyessy and P. Štekauer (eds.), Complex words: Advances in Morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 222-243.
  • Blevins, J., A. Egurtzegi, and J. Ullrich. 2020. Final obstruent voicing in Lakota: Phonetic evidence and phonological implications. Language 96(2):294-337.
  • Blevins, J. 2019a. Deconstructing markedness in sound change typology: Notes on θ > f and f > θ. In L. Heltoft, I. Igartua, B. Joseph, K. Kragh, & L. Schøsler (eds.), Perspectives on Language Structure and Language Change. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 107-122.
  • Blevins, J. 2019b. Evolutionary phonology as human behavior. In N. Stern, R. Otheguy, W. Reid, and J. Ruggles-Sackler (eds), Columbia School Linguistics in the 21st Century: Advances in Sign-Based Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 281-300.
  • Blevins, J. 2019c. Linguistic clues to Andamanese pre-history: Understanding the North South divide. In Tom Güldemann, Patrick McConvell, and Richard Rhodes (eds.), The Language of Hunter-gatherers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 198-230.
  • Blevins, J. 2018. Evolutionary phonology and the life cycle of voiceless sonorants. In Sonia Cristofaro and Fernando Zuniga (eds.), Typological Hierarchies in Synchrony and Diachrony. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 29-60.
  • Blevins, J. 2017a. Areal sound patterns. In Raymond Hickey (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 88-121.
  • Blevins, J. 2017b. Between natural and unnatural phonology: The case of cluster-splitting epenthesis. In Claire Bowern, Laurence Horn & Raffaella Zanuttini (eds.) On looking into words (and beyond): Structures, Relations, Analyses. Berlin: Language Science Press. 3-16.
  • Blevins, J. 2017c. What are grammars made of? In Bridget D. Samuels (ed.) Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 47-68.
  • Blevins, J. and A. Egurtzegi. 2017. Unexpected obstruent loss in initial obstruent-sonorant clusters: an apparent example from Basque. Phonology 34.3: 507-522.