Anthropology Faculty

Arienne M. Dwyer


Linguistic Anthropology

Co-Director, Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities
Named 2014 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Affiliations with Linguistics and Indigenous Nations Studies

Ph.D., University of Washington 1996

Research Areas:
Linguistic anthropology, typology, in situ research methods, media archives, language documentation, digital humanities; China, Inner Asia, Central Asia | Fraser Hall, #638 | (785) 864-2649

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]


Professor Dwyer (Ph.D. in Altaic and Chinese Linguistics, U Washington, 1996) focuses on language change. She has conducted 20 years of local research with individuals and communities in Inner and Central Asia (on Turkic-Mongolic-Sinitic-Tibetic language contact), and has directed a number of collaborative documentation and archiving projects, including Salar (1991-1993, Fulbright), Kazakh (1993, Fulbright), Uyghur dialectology, language ideology and verb typology (2002-2003, ACLS, 2011-2014, NSF), Salar, Monguor, Baonan andWutun (2000-2005, 2007-2008 Volkswagen-DOBES), Kyrgyz folklore and languagepolicy (2004 and 2008, respectively, Open Society Institute), and archaic German dialects in Kansas (2005). Currently she and several Central Asian colleagues are working to develop Central Asian linguistic anthropology.

Internationally she acts as a consultant on language documentation and multimedia annotation and archiving (IMDI, UNESCO, EMELD), has chaired the Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Endangered Language Preservation (CELP), and has organized conferences on language resources and technology, the Digital Tools Summit in Linguistics (DTSL) and, with Helen Aristar-Dry and Anthony Aristar, Towards Interoperability in Language Resources(TILR). Recognizing that this cyberinfrastructure development entails changing data practices as well as tools and architecture, through KU’s Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, Professor Dwyer and her colleagues are offering training programs, seed grants, and support for digital best practices on campus.

Prospective students with interests in language technology, documentary linguistics, language ideology, digital humanities, and Inner Asian Studies are well served at KU. Professor Dwyer teaches methods courses on data management and analysis, on language revitalization, ethnicity and languages of China and Central Asia, linguistic typology, and ethnopoetics. She initiated an academic-year Uyghur language program and established the foundation for exchange program with Manas University and the American University of Central Asia, both in Kyrgyzstan.

In June and July 2012, Dwyer (with colleague Carlos Nash) will co-Direct CoLang: Institute for Language Documentation here at the University of Kansas.

Recent publications:

Dwyer, Arienne M. 2010. Models of Successful Cooperation. In Grenoble, Lenore A. and N. Louanna Furbee, eds. Language Documentation: Practice and Values. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 193–212. Preprint.

Dwyer, Arienne M. 2008. Bridal Laments in the Turkic World: A Casualty of Modernity? In Herzog, Christoph and Barbara Pusch, eds. Groups, Ideologies and Discourses: Glimpses of the Turkish SpeakingWorld.  Istanbuler Texte und Studien 10. Würzburg: Ergon, 131–143. Preprint.

Engesæth, Tarjei, Mahire Yakup, and Arienne Dwyer. 2009.  TeklimakandinSalam: hazirqi zaman Uyghur tili qollanmisi / Greetings from the Teklimakan: a handbook of Modern Uyghur. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas ScholarWorks. ISBN 978-1-936153-03-9. Pdf with streaming audio.

Dwyer, Arienne M. 2008. Tonogenesis in Southeastern Monguor. In Harrison, K. David, David Rood, and Arienne Dwyer, eds. Lessons from documented endangered languages. Typological Studies in Language 78. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 111–128. Preprint.

Dwyer, Arienne M. 2007. Salar: a study in Inner Asian areal contact processes, Part I: Phonology. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Dwyer, Arienne M. 2005.  The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse. Policy Studies 15. Washington, D.C.: East-West CenterWashington.

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