Claire L. Bowern

Yale University
Humanities and Arts
Literature and Language Studies

Claire Bowern, a professor of linguistics at Yale University, is a historical linguist whose research is centered around language change and language documentation in Indigenous Australia. While her work touches many areas, the overarching question is how to characterize the nature of language change. Language change involves a complex interplay of universal properties of language acquisition and production and community-specific social factors; her research program looks at how to study this so we understand both the micro change(es) in progress and the macro change that leads to language families. She works with speakers of endangered languages, with archival sound and print materials, and she uses computational and phylogenetic methods. She is currently the editor of the journal Diachronica. She is past director of Yale’s Women Faculty Forum, a gender equity group on campus. She has a secondary appointment in Anthropology and membership of the Executive Committee for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

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