Teaching

Teaching Statement

Understanding the properties of scientific enquiry is a vital goal of my classes. My teaching focuses on promoting an empirical approach that can be used within different subfields of linguistic research. Consistent with that philosophy, I rely on two further principles when teaching: the incorporation of quantitative methods, and the investigation of under-described languages. The courses I teach center on practicing hypothesis testing, the formulation of feasible research questions, and data analysis. 

As a teacher I am also aware of societal phenomena that have led to the exclusion of women, people of color, researchers from developing nations, and LGBTQ+ people from academia. I strive to offer my students a diversity of academic views through the selection of readings, the design of activities, and through flexible assignments that take distinct cultural norms into consideration. 

Courses

Upper Level courses

University of Helsinki

New methods in typological approaches to language contact

This course is a hands-on approach to typology as it pertains to language contact. It aims to shed light on contact-induced change in different linguistic domains in languages from across the world. Focusing on diverse contact scenarios, in this class students will have a chance to assess phonological and morphosyntactic variables in small sets of unrelated languages in contact. The course will address the theoretical underpinnings behind the choice of variables as well as the sociolinguistic situations behind contact. Finally, students will be directly involved in the practical aspects of coding for linguistic variables in typological investigations.

Comparative Phonetics and Phonology of Spanish and Portuguese 

This course explores the phonetic and phonological factors that explain how Spanish and Portuguese have diverged from a single language around AD 1000 to their present-day myriad of dialects. Specifically, it addresses how sound change may outweigh grammatical similarity in bringing about language divergence. Theoretical issues such as asymmetric mutual intelligibility (e.g. why Spanish speakers may have a hard time understanding Portuguese, but usually not the other way around), and language/dialect prestige will also be discussed. Basic notions of phonetics, phonology and historical comparative linguistics are revised and expanded upon. 

University of New Mexico

Introduction to Language Change

This course introduces theories and methods of comparative and historical linguistics, with an emphasis on a typologically informed understanding of diachronic change. It introduces students to concepts that assist in determining common cross-linguistic paths and mechanisms of language evolution in a data-driven fashion. In this course, graduate students and advanced undergrads will explore issues that pertain to the study of phonetic, phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic change within a functional perspective.

[sample syllabus]

Romance Linguistics 

This seminar delves into the developments that took place in Classical and Vulgar Latin that eventually gave rise to the modern Romance languages in terms of  their structure (phonetics/phonology, morphosyntax and semantics). Students contrast the traditional comparative method with a more contemporary corpus approach to historical linguistics. In the beginning of the semester, each student is assigned a Romance language or variety and to examine for small class assignments. Students are encouraged to include data from lesser known Romance languages such as Catalan, Romanian or Romansh for their final projects.

Lower Level Courses

University of New Mexico

Introduction to the Study of Language 

Proposes a broad overview of the field of linguistics. Students are introduced to the basic elements of linguistic analysis so that they acquire the skills to discuss attitudes to language, the evolution of language and how it changes over time, the power dynamics behind the teaching and use of language varieties (e.g., ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ English), how children acquire language and how adults acquire a second language, and so forth. Spoken minority languages (including Native languages of the Southwest USA) and American Sign Language receive special focus.

[sample syllabus]