Spike Gildea

Spike Gildea

dates de séjour

15/09/2014 - 15/07/2015






University of Oregon (USA)

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Reconstructing Morphosyntax, the Cariban Language family and Languages of Lowland South America

While in Lyon, Gildea will coordinate a series of workshops on the topic of reconstructing morphosyntax. The readings for thèse workshops will include drafts of chapters from Gildea’s monograph in progress, Reconstructing Syntax : Cognates, directionality, and mechanisms of change. This monograph will be revised with input from the workshops and submitted to a publisher by the end of 2015. Partly on the basis of thèse workshops, Gildea will begin collaborations with CNRS researchers in Lyon on syntactic reconstruction in the languages and language families of interest to them. We will co-organize an international workshop for spring of 2015 on the topic of reconstructing syntax, ideally with a major emphasis on the language families of Amazonia. The workshop will provide a venue for the initial presentation of the collaborative work within this project. We project an edited volume based largely on papers presented at the workshop, to be co-edited by Gildea, Guillaume, and Rose, for publication by 2017 in the series Typological Studies in Language (John Benjamins). Throughout the entire 10 months in Lyon, Gildea will work on compiling cognate sets (both lexical and grammatical) from his field notes, Sérgio Meira’s Cariban toolbox databases, and data shared by other Cariban linguists. We will seek additional funding to bring Meira for one or two visits to Lyon during the 10-month project period, both to facilitate additional collaborative discussions with DDL researchers and also to allow Meira and Gildea time to collaborate intensively on a new volume of comparative work on the Cariban family.


Spike Gildea was born in 1961 in Salem, Oregon, earned his BA in English in 1983 from the University of Oregon, and then began his international travels. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal (1983-85), then returned to the University of Oregon to complete his MA (1989) and PhD (1992) in Linguistics. He was a visiting scholar in residence at the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Belém, Brazil (1993-1994), and he was also a Visiting Fellow for 4 months in 2006 at the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, Latrobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He served as was Assistant Professor (1993-1997) and Associate Professor (1997-2000) at Rice University in Houston, Texas, then returned to the University of Oregon in 2000 as Department Head (2000-2006), becoming Professor in 2011. He has conducted linguistic fieldwork in Venezuela (Panare; 1988 and 1990), Brazil (Katxúyana 1994-97) and Guyana (Akawaio; 2004-06), in all working with speakers of 15 languages of the Cariban family. He is (with Fernando Zúñiga) Series Editor of Typological Studies in Language (John Benjamins). Most of his publications focus on the intersection of historical linguistics and morphosyntactic typology, with a consistent focus on the languages of South America, especially those of the Cariban language family. He has lectured extensively in South America, Europe, and South Korea on various topics in descriptive, typological, and historical linguistics, plus second language acquisition; beyond conference presentations, he has given many invited lectures and has taught 11 intensive courses outside of the US. He has (co-)organized multiple workshops and conferences, and he served as the Director of the 6-week Institute for Field Linguistics and Language Documentation (InField 2010) at the University of Oregon.