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Ph.D. in Linguistics
Cornell University

My academia.edu page

About me:

My research lies at the diachronic/synchronic interface, addressing both how an understanding of language change can better inform our analyses of synchronic phenomena and how new synchronic linguistic methods can better inform our understanding of language change. Most of my recent work has focused on diachronic syntax, particularly clausal reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European within generative syntactic frameworks, but I've also done work in phonology and morphology that I plan to continue and expand upon. Recently I've become interested in computational approaches to language subgrouping as well, and am currently collaborating on a project investigating the extent to which vocabulary selection during input affects the family tree generated.

I also do language construction consulting work, most recently collaborating with Joseph Rhyne to create the Torfan language for Marvel Entertainment's 2019 blockbuster Captain Marvel.


2020. Evidence from innovation: reconstructing disharmonic headedness for Proto-Indo-European. Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University.

In Revision. Disharmonic headedness in functional categories in early Indo-European. Proceedings of the 20th meeting of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS) Conference. Oxford: Oxford Universtity Press. Draft

2018. Mixed headedness in Tocharian, and its implications for PIE reconstruction. In Stephanie W. Jamison, Brent Vine, and David Goldstein (eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference. Bremen: Hempen. Draft


2018, Oct. 12. Evidence from innovation: reconstructing disharmonic headedness for Proto-Indo- European, Syntax Brown Bag Speaker Series, New York University. (Slides)

2018, Jun. 18-21. Disharmonic Headedness in Functional Categories in Early Indo-European , The 20th Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference, University of York. (Slides, Abstract)

2017, Nov. 3-4. Syntactic Headedness in Tocharian. 29th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference. Los Angeles, California. (Handout, Abstract)

2017, June 2-4. Wh-questions in Hittite and Tocharian and implications for PIE reconstruction. 36th Annual East Coast Indo-European Conference (ECIEC). Ithaca, New York. (Talk, Handout, Abstract)

2017, Jan. 5-8. Rethinking Lexical Indexing Models: Evidence from Japanese and English. Linguistic Society of America (LSA) 91st Annual Meeting. Austin, Texas. (Poster, Handout, Abstract)

2016, May 26-28. Rethinking the Core-Periphery Model: Data from Japanese. 24th Manchester Phonology Meeting. Manchester, England. (Poster, Handout, Abstract)

2015, Nov. 15. Postnominal Relative Clause Development in Classical Armenian. Workshop on Relative Clauses: Relatives in East Asia and Beyond. Ithaca, New York. (Poster)


Draft of first qualifying paper: Rethinking the Core-Periphery Model: Evidence from Japanese and English.

Draft of second qualifying paper: Wh-Questions in Tocharian and Implications for PIE Reconstruction.


2020. Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University.
  Dissertation: Evidence from innovation: reconstructing disharmonic headedness for Proto-Indo-European. John Whitman, Michael Weiss, chairs; Miloje Despic

2014. Masters in Linguistics from the University of Georgia. Jared Klein, advisor.

2007. B.A. in Accounting from Furman University, Cum Laude.

Teaching Experience:

Cornell University
Teaching Assistant
Introduction to Linguistics, 2019-2020
-Led two discussion sections, administered all grades
Historical Linguistics, Spring 2018
-Led discussion sections twice per week, administered all grades
Introduction to Japanese, 2015-2017
-Taught and administered grades for six speaking drill sections per week

University of Georgia
Instructor of Record
Introduction to Japanese
-Organized, taught, and administered grades for three introductory courses

Kahoku, Ishikawa, Japan
Assistant English Language Teacher
-Team-taught with local elementary and junior high English teachers
-Gave teaching demos for local teachers and officials as well as Ministry of Education representatives
-Taught weekly conversation classes for adults

Research Assistantships:

Cornell University
Kuśiññe Kantwo: Elementary Lessons in Tocharian B: Editor
-Edited textbook content and organization for author Michael Weiss
Korean Linguistics: Editorial Assistant
-Edited submissions, prepared and submitted annual budget request for John Whitman


2019, Fall. Speaking of Language Podcast S2E4 “Joseph Rhyne and Ryan Hearn - Do You Speak Torfan?”.

2019, May. National Museum of Language “Interview with Joseph Rhyne and Ryan Hearn, Creators of Torfan for Marvel’s Captain Marvel”.

2019, May. Ithaca Times “Cornell graduate students create language for Captain Marvel”.

2019, April. New York Post, “Meet the super nerds creating languages for ‘Game of Thrones,’ Marvel”, Video interview and print article.

2019, April. Cornell Chronicle, “Linguistics students create language for ‘Captain Marvel’”, Video Interview.

2019, April. WSYR Syracuse; News Channel 9, Syracuse; WENY New York; Cornell Daily Sun; Cornell Arts and Sciences Newsletter, Radio and print interviews related to work on Captain Marvel.

Leadership and Service:

2019, Dec. CienciAmerica Workshop: Writing Skills for Successful Scholars, Course Assistant, Cornell University.

2019, Aug. First-Year Major Fair, Linguistics Department Representative, Cornell University.

2017-2018. Cornell Lingustics Circle, President, Cornell University.

2018, Oct. North East Linguistics Society (NELS) 49, Volunteer, Cornell University.

2018, Feb. Cornell Linguistics Circle Speaker Series, Speaker host, Cornell University.

2015, 2016. Ithaca Public Education Initiative Spelling Bee Fundraiser, Team Captain, Cornell University.

2014-2015. Graduate & Professional Students Assembly, Representative, Linguistics Department, Cornell University.

2013-2014. Linguistics Society at UGA, Treasurer, University of Georgia.


2014, 2018. Sage Fellowship

2016, Spring. EAP Smith Research Fellowship for East Asian Languages, Spring 2016