Misha Becker (Director of Undergraduate Studies)

mbecker (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 301 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2000, University of California, Los Angeles

Misha Becker’s main area of interest is psycholinguistics and first language acquisition, in particular the acquisition of syntax in children. Her research deals mainly with the development of functional structure (e.g. inflection and finiteness) in child grammar, and her current work focuses on the acquisition of raising verbs (e.g. ‘seem’) and raising constructions. Her other interests include cognitive development, learnability theory, and computational models of language acquisition.

Randall Hendrick

hendrick (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 105 Smith Building

Ph.D. 1979, University of California, Los Angeles

Randall Hendrick specializes in syntactic theory and the way that syntax coordinates with semantics on the one hand and morphology on the other. Currently he is working on classes of predicates and their relations to events. Syntactic reflexes of the semantic distinction between categorical and thetic judgments are part of this project, as is the syntactic domain of existential closure. This work stems from his fieldwork on Polynesian and Celtic languages. It relates as well to some psycholinguistic experimentation designed to distinguish properties of derivations from properties of representations.

David Mora-Marín

davidmm (at) unc.edu
Office: 307 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2001, State University of New York at Albany

David Mora-Marín, affiliated with both the Linguistics Department and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Latin American Studies, specializes in historical linguistics and the epigraphic study of ancient Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions. Currently he is working on the linguistic structure (e.g. morphosyntax, pragmatics) and historical development of Mayan texts, such as the identification of the language that was used as the standard of Classic Lowland Mayan texts (A.D. 200-900) and the nature of Mayan orthographic conventions. He is very much interested in the origin of Mayan writing, its relationship to other Mesoamerican scripts (e.g. Zapotec, Epi-Olmec), and the sociocultural factors that served as the background for the development of writing.

Elliott Moreton (Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions)

moreton (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 101 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2002, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Why are some phonological patterns much more frequent than others? Two main factors have been proposed as explanations: Either learners are more receptive to some patterns than others, or subtle phonetic asymmetries systematically skew the errors made in inter-generational transmission. Elliott Moreton’s research focuses on these factors and their interaction in shaping phonological typology.

Katya Pertsova (Honors Advisor)

pertsova (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 308 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2007, University of California, Los Angeles

Katya Pertsova’s research lies at the intersection of theoretical linguistics, computational modeling and psycholinguistics. In particular, she is interested in questions related to computational models of learning morphology, complexity metrics of linguistic patterns, lexical storage and organization, and language evolution.

Paul Roberge (Department Chair)

ptr (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 441 Dey Hall and 109 Smith Building

Ph.D. 1980, University of Michigan

Paul Roberge’s areas of specialization are pidgins and creoles, historical linguistics, and Germanic languages. His current research involves creole formation at the Cape of Good Hope, comparative Germanic grammar, and the evolution of human language.

Jennifer Smith (Associate Chair)

jlsmith (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 309 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2002, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Jennifer Smith specializes in phonological theory and the phonology of Japanese and other East Asian languages. Broadly speaking, she is interested in the nature and structure of phonological constraints. Specific projects include positional constraints, syllable structure and sonority, loanword phonology, phonological differences between words of different lexical categories, and intonational phonology in the Fukuoka dialect of Japanese.

J. Michael Terry

terryjm (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 303 Smith Building

Ph.D. 2003, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Michael Terry’s principal area of interest is natural language semantics. His current research involves investigating the formal semantic properties of Tense and Aspect in African-American English. His other areas of interest include negation, and definiteness and specificity.


Caleb Hicks

linghix (at) email.unc.edu

Ph.D. 2015, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Julie St. John


Ph.D. 2004, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Masako Hirotani

masako_hirotani (at) carleton.ca, hirotani (at) email.unc.edu
School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University

Ph.D. 2005, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Mako Hirotani is associate professor of linguistics at Carleton University and adjunct associate professor of linguistics at UNC-CH. Her primary fields of expertise are psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and neurocognition of language.

Benjamin E. Frey

benfrey (at) email.unc.edu
Office: 215 Greenlaw Hall

Ph.D. 2013, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ben Frey is assistant professor of American studies and adjunct assistant professor of linguistics. His primary areas of expertise are Cherokee linguistics, the German language in America, and German and Dutch linguistics.

Becky Butler

becky_butler (at) unc.edu
Office: SASB North 0127

Ph.D. 2014, Cornell University

Becky Butler is ESL specialist in the Writing Center and adjunct assistant professor of linguistics.  Her primary areas of expertise are English as a second language, Southeast Asian languages, theoretical phonology and phonetics.


H. Craig Melchert

melchert (at) humnet.ucla.edu

Ph.D. 1977, Harvard University

Craig Melchert is emeritus professor of Indo-European studies and linguistics at UCLA and also emeritus professor of linguistics at UNC-CH.  His area of expertise is Indo-European linguistics, with particular focus on the Anatolian branch.


Jennifer Arnold (Psychology and Neuroscience), psychology and psycholinguistics
Uffe Bergeton (Asian Studies), early Chinese language, history, and thought
Lucia Binotti (Romance Studies), Spanish philology, cultural thought, linguistic historiography
Connie Eble (English and Comparative Literature), English linguistics
Bruno Estigarribia (Romance Studies), Spanish linguistics, language development and cognition
Nina Furry (Romance Studies), French linguistics, French language pedagogy
Peter C. Gordon (Psychology and Neuroscience), psychology of language
Lamar Graham (Romance Studies), Spanish linguistics
Larry D. King (Romance Studies, emeritus), Spanish and Portuguese linguistics
Wendan Li (Asian Studies), Chinese linguistics (discourse analysis), Chinese language pedagogy
William G. Lycan (Philosophy, emeritus), philosophy of language, philosophy of mind
Patrick O’Neill (English and Comparative Literature), languages and literatures of Britain and Ireland, especially during the medieval period
Dean Pettit (Philosophy), philosophy of language and mind
Patricia E. Sawin (American Studies), ethnography of communication