Dr Neil (Alex) Walker
AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
Pomoan languages, Papuan languages, writing systems
I have worked with understudied languages since I began researching the now-extinct Southern Pomo language of California while an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley. I wrote the first comprehensive grammar of Southern Pomo for my doctoral thesis, which is now being published by the University of Nebraska Press (fall 2019/winter 2020 expected). After finishing my PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013, I began researching Northeastern Pomo, a sister language to Southern that lost its last speaker about 1970 and for which there is fragmented, unpublished documentation. From 2015-2016, my Northeastern Pomo documentation project was funded by an NSF-NEH DEL grant. Since January of 2018, I have been a Research Fellow at James Cook University, where my 5-year research project revolves around the endangered Panim language of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea.
I am in the final stages of completing a grammar and lexicon of Northeastern Pomo, one that pulls together a century’s worth of disparate unpublished sources from multiple linguists and community members. I am meeting with Panim elders in Madang in an ongoing collaborative effort to build a language documentation project that will preserve Panim for posterity and provide useful outcomes to the community. A comprehensive grammar of Panim is one of the primary expected outcomes of the Panim documentation project.
Board Vice President
Western Institute for Endangered Language Documentation
2013: Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dissertation: A Grammar of Southern Pomo: An Indigenous Language of California
Chair: Professor Marianne Mithun
2008: M.A., Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Thesis: A Description of the Morphophonology of Southern Pomo: A California Indian Language
2004: B.A., Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley, with Honors and Highest Distinction in General Scholarship
2002: A.A., Humanities & Liberal Arts & Sciences, San Joaquin Delta College, with High Honors
2020 (in press) A Grammar of Southern Pomo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Peer-reviewed book chapter
2016 Assessing the effects of language contact on Northeastern Pomo. In Contact and
Change in the Americas. Studies in honor of Marianne Mithun, Andrea Berez-Kroeker, eds. Diane M. Hintz, and Carmen Jany [SLCS 173].
2011 The phonemic status of word-initial glottal stops in Southern Pomo. In Proceedings of the 6th annual Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America, ed. K. Matsumoto-Gray, N. A. Walker. Salt Lake City, UT: Center for American Indian Languages (CAIL).
2019a The Effects of Culture and Landscape in Pomoan Languages. Special international workshop: The Integration of Language and Society. James Cook University, Cairns, August 22
2019b Še:wey Čahnu: A Southern Pomo Pidgin. Presentation to the cultural committee of the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians, August, July 12
2019c The Adjective Class in Northeastern Pomo. Seminar presentation in the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University, Cairns campus, May 15
2018a Reconstructing the Pertensive Suffixes of Inalienably Possessed Nouns in Panim. Workshop: From Fieldwork to Reconstruction: Language Documentation and Historical Linguistics, November 7
2018b The Effects of Language Contact on Northeastern Pomo Phonology. Special workshop of James Cook University and the University of Augsburg, Cairns, July 12 2018c Number Systems in Southern Pomo. Seminar presentation in the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University, Cairns campus, May 2
2018d How Phonology Relates to Phonetics. Invited lecture as part of Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research Masterclass, by Kasia I. Wojtylak, James Cook University, Cairns, April 5-6
2018e Switch-reference in Southern Pomo. Seminar presentation in the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University, Cairns campus, February 28
2016 Northeastern Pomo as a Relictual Speech Community. Presented to the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, Linguistic Society of America Conference, Washington, D.C.
2011 A Sentential Focus Switch-Reference System: Southern Pomo Dependent Clause Suffixes. Linguistics Colloquium presentation, University of California, Santa Barbara
2010a Teaching and Documenting an Endangered Language: Meeting the Needs of Scholars and Heritage Learners with a Southern Pomo Dictionary. Presented at the 5th UC Language Consortium Conference on Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives, University of California, San Diego
2010b The Phonemic Status of Word-Initial Glottal Stops in Southern Pomo. Presented at the Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America (CELCNA), University of Utah.
2009a An Introduction to Dzala: An East Bodish Language from Eastern Bhutan. Presented with Carol Genetti and Ryoko Suzuki, Linguistics Colloquium, University of California, Santa Barbara
2009b Southern Pomo Dependent Clause Markers. Presented to the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, Linguistic Society of America Conference, San Francisco, CA.
2008a Leaving a trail: How to fulfill academic objectives and facilitate language revitalization. Presented at the Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America (CELCNA), University of Utah.
2008b Proto Pomo Uvulars. Poster presented to the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas Linguistic Society of America Conference, Chicago, IL.
2007 Creating the Southern Pomo Textual Dictionary. Presentation to the Native American Indian Languages Study Group, Santa Barbara, CA.
Research and Teaching
Research Fellow, Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University
Instructor, Linguistic Society of America Summer Linguistic Institute
2019 The Phonology and Grammar of Southern Pomo (peq) Narratives
Lecturer, California State University, Fullerton
2018 Languages of the World (LING 102)
Language and Linguistics (LING 106)
Adjunct Associate Professor, San Joaquin Delta College
2012-2015 Anthropology 4/Humanities 4 (= Linguistics)
Instructor, University of California, Santa Barbara
2009 & 2010 Introduction to Linguistics
Teaching Assistant, University of California, Santa Barbara (2006 - 2011)
- Language and Power (Semantics) (2008, 2011)
- Teaching Assistant Training (2010)
- Phonology (2007, 2009, 2011)
- Morphology (2007, 2009)
- Phonetics (2006, 2008)
- Introduction to Linguistics (2007, 2008)
- English Grammar for Teachers (2008)
Fellowships, Grants, Scholarships, and Honors
2015-2016 National Endowment for the Humanities-National Science Foundation - Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowship
2005-2010 University of California, Santa Barbara Doctoral Scholars Fellowship
2009 Teaching Assistant Instructional Grant (TAIG) for Historical Linguistics
2006 Southern Pomo Dictionary Project with Professor Marianne Mithun
2005 Fellow of Advanced Study of Khmer program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2004 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), University of California at Berkeley
2001 Leo Shapiro Scholarship of Excellence & San Joaquin Delta College Memorial Scholarship
Media Appearances as a Linguist
2012 Mason, Clark. "North Coast Tribes Strive to Keep Pomo Language Alive." The Press Democrat [Santa Rosa, CA] 10 Feb. 2012 (https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/north-coast-tribes-strive-to-keep-pomo-language-alive/)
2009 The Deseret Alphabet. RadioWest. NPR. KUER 90.1, Salt Lake City. 22 July. (http://kuer.org/post/72209-deseret-alphabet)
Other Professional Employment as a Linguist
2016 Southern Pomo language instructor (distance learning) for Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Santa Rosa, CA
2011-2014 Language Project Coordinator for the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Santa Rosa, CA; created and conducted the Southern Pomo language revitalization program
Service to Indigenous Communities
2019 Primary page administrator for The Pomo Languages Discussion Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/pomolanguages)
2014 Mentor to Southern Pomo heritage speakers, Breath of Life Workshop, University of California at Berkeley
2011 Language revitalization grant-writing consultant to Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians
2011 Central Pomo language mentor at the Breath of Life conference on indigenous language revitalization in Washington, D.C.
2006 Southern Pomo language documentation consultant to Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians
2004 Mentor to Central Pomo heritage speakers, Breath of Life Workshop, University of California at Berkeley