I am a quantitative historical linguist and phonologist with extensive field experience and expertise on the Tai languages of Southeast Asia. My work combines a solid grounding in traditional methods with computational approaches.
I finished my PhD in 2019, with a dissertation titled The Tonal Comparative Method: Tai Tone in Historical Perspective. I work on topics including sound change in tone systems, language documentation, evolutionary linguistics, language contact in Southeast Asia, and Southeast Asian epigraphy. I also have a strong interest in methodology and data quality: I am just as interested in how to best approach research questions, and thinking about issues with the datasets we choose, as in the specific answers to them.
Since 2014 I have worked on language documentation in northwestern Myanmar, on minority Tai languages spoken outside the core Shan area. My fieldwork focuses on the variety of Tai Khamti [kht] that is spoken in the Upper Chindwin River Valley.
I’ve lived in Thailand off and on since 2002, adding up to about a decade out of that time. Before moving back to the US in 2013 for graduate school, I worked on a variety of projects at SEALang.net, including building assistive tools for Thai language learning, compiling contemporary and historical dictionaries of Southeast Asia, creating the Southeast Asian Linguistics Archive, the Pacific Linguistics archive, the NUSA archive, the Zorc Papers, and other projects related to archival preservation and aggregating large lexical datasets. I also spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand working on Thai epigraphy, studying the language used in the stone inscriptions of the Sukhothai Era.