Get to Know Your Instructors: Lyle Campbell

Lyle Campbell’s (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa) Institute course is set to incorporate a hands-on approach on how to “do” rather than simply discuss historical linguistics. In this interview, we learn more about Lyle’s current research which includes the indigenous languages of the Americas as well as the documentation of endangered languages.

1. Can you please tell us about your linguistic background?

MA (University of Washington) and Phd (UCLA) in Linguistics, years of fieldwork with indigenous languages of the Americas; much research in historical linguistics.

2. When did you first join the LSA?

3. Can you tell us about the course you are teaching at the Institute?
Introduction to Historical Linguistics — a fun course, one needed by all linguists. A hands-on approach in how to “do” (not just talk about) historical linguistics.

4. What research are you currently working on?
Endangered languages documentation (in the Chaco region of South America), history and classification of indigenous languages of the Americas, language contact in South America, reconstruction of Matacoan languages, book on unconventional tips for fieldworkers.

5. What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
Biking, hiking, kayaking.

6. In a parallel universe in which you are not an academic/linguist, what would you be?
I’d be a linguist — nothing else could compete for being satisfying.

7. What are you most looking forward to about Davis?
The intellectual environment and interacting with other linguists.

8. Ice cream or Cake? Cats or Dogs? Quarter system or Semester system?
Ice cream (definitely, a secret sin which I therefore avoid); dogs; semester as an instructor, quarter as a student.

9. What advice would you give to graduate students interested in pursuing a career in linguistics?
Go for it! Life is too short to do something uninteresting or unsatisfying.

Learn more about Professor Campbell here