Get to Know Your Instructors: Pamela Munro

We are excited to announce that Hale Professor Pamela Munro from UCLA will be joining us at the 2019 institute. The professorship was established by LSA in 2003 to address the need for endangered language documentation in future Linguistic Institutes.

Can you please tell us about your linguistic background?

I’m a Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA, where I started teaching in 1974 after receiving my Ph.D. in linguistics from UC San Diego. My research has concentrated on all aspects of the grammars of indigenous languages of the Americas, currently focusing on the Chickasaw (Muskogean; Oklahoma), Garifuna (Arawakan; Central America), Imbabura Quichua (Quechuan; Ecuador), Tongva (Uto-Aztecan; Los Angeles Basin), and Tlacolula Valley Zapotec (Zapotecan; Central Oaxaca, Mexico) languages.

When did you first join the LSA?

1969, I think; maybe 1970

Can you tell us about the course you are teaching in the Institute?

It’s a course in linguistic field methods, in which we’ll work on techniques for learning about and analyzing a language by working with native speakers rather than depending on previous descriptions. This is the most exciting work linguists can do! (I don’t know yet what language it will be – but if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you – it’s a surprise!)

What research are you currently working on?

I’m finishing a revision of the Chickasaw dictionary and working on teaching grammars of Garifuna and Tongva and dictionaries of Quichua and Tongva. All of these except the Tongva projects have native speaker (and, for Quichua, other collaborators); Tongva has no native speakers, but the members of the monthly Tongva class work closely with me on improving those projects. (You can check out the Tongva Language page on Facebook to hear some Tongva words.)

What is your favorite hobby or pastime?


Quarter or Semester system?

I have not been on the semester system since high school. I am a great fan of the quarter system.

What are you most looking forward to about Davis?

I am excited to learn more about Davis! I’ve only been there once, for just a few hours.

What advice would you give to graduate students interested in pursuing a career in linguistics?

Be open to things you haven’t thought about pursuing!

Learn more about Hale Professor Pamela Munro here: