Faculty & Staff

Linguistics Faculty Office Hours Winter 2018 

For questions about our program, classes, registration, the major or minor requirements, or general information about linguistics please contact Program Director Kristin Denham by email (kristin.denham@wwu.edu) to set up an appointment or stop by during open advising office hours. Spring quarter office hours: T 12-1; W 2:30-3:30; R 10:30-11:30. You can also contact the Linguistics Administrative Assistant Sara Helms by email (sara.helms@wwu.edu) or by phone (360-650-3918).

The Linguistics Program, an interdisciplinary, inter-departmental and inter-college program, draws upon the services of faculty from various units within the university. Approximately 40 faculty members in various disciplines offer courses approved for inclusion in the Linguistics major.

Linguistics Faculty

Learn more about our faculty below (listed in alphabetical order by last name).

Emily Curtis


Phone: (360) 650-4947

Office: Humanities 253

BA, Pomona College

MA & PhD in Linguistics, University of Washington

EdD in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: syllable phonology, metalinguistic awareness, Linguistics pedagogy and outreach, Korean, Lushootseed

Masanori Deguchi


Phone: (360) 650-4155

Office: Miller Hall 217E

BA in English, Kansai Gaidai University

MA in Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington

PhD in Linguistics (major) and Philosophy (minor) Indiana University, Bloomington

Research and teaching interests: Syntax and semantics of Japanese, phonology of Native American languages, Japanese language pedagogy

Kristin Denham - Professor and Linguistics Program Director



Phone: (360) 650-3217

Office: Humanities 357 

BA, Swarthmore College

MA, University of Arizona

PhD in Linguistics, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: syntactic theory, Native American languages, linguistics in K-12 education

Shannon Dubenion-Smith 


Phone: (360) 650-3927

Office: Miller Hall 218C

BA University of Michigan

MA and PhD in Germanic Linguistics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research and teaching interests: Germanic linguistics, variationist linguistics, dialect and regiolect syntax, historical syntax, Pennsylvania Dutch

Jennifer Green


Phone: (360) 650-2395

Office: Miller Hall 303B

BA, Gustavus Adolphus College

MAT, School for International Training

PhD, University of Connecticut

Research and teaching interests: Director ELL Endorsement. English linguistics for educators, academic language, teaching methodologies.

Shaw Gynan


Phone: (360) 650-4853

Office: Miller Hall 215A

BA in Languages, Georgetown

MA in Spanish, University of Texas, El Paso

PhD in Ibero-Romance Philology and Linguistics, University of Texas, Austin

Research and teaching interests: Guaraní-Spanish bilingualism, endangered language documentation and promotion, second language methodology, language policy, morphology, Spanish phonetics, sociolinguistics.

Todd Haskell


Phone: (360) 650-2720

Office: Academic Instructional 486

BA in Psychology, Darthmouth

PhD in Psychology, University of Southern California

Research and teaching interests: cognition, psychology of language, problem solving

James Hearne


Phone : (360) 650-3792

Office: Communications 479

PhD in Philosophy, University of California

Research and teaching interests: data mining, computational linguistics, artificial intelligence


Brian Hutchinson - Assistant Professor

Brian Hutchinson



Phone: (360) 650-4894

Office: Communications 475 

BA in Linguistics, BS in Computer Science, MS in Computer Science, Western Washington University

MS in Electrical Engineering, University of Washington

PhD in Electrical Engineering, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: Speech and language processing, machine learning, optimization

McNeel Jantzen - Associate Professor



Phone: (360) 650-2247

Office: Academic Instructional 588

BA in English and PhD in Cognition, Florida Atlantic University

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences

Director of the Language and Neural Systems Lab

Research and teaching interests: speech perception, effect of musical training on language networks, neural reorganization of language

Christina Keppie  


Phone: (360) 650-3930

Office: Miller Hall 215D

BA, University of New Brunswick

MA, Carleton University

PhD in Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (focus: linguistic anthropology), University of Alberta 

Research and teaching interests: Canadian French (culture and linguistics), Acadian Studies, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology

Yudong Liu 


Phone : (360) 650-4831

Office: Communications 483

PhD, Simon Fraser University

Research and teaching interests: statistical natural language processing, cuneiform text processing and social network analysis, uses of data collected by eye-tracing device for reading-related tasks

Anne Lobeck     


Phone: (360) 650-3249

Office: Humanities 359

BA Whitman College, MA and PhD Linguistics University of Washington

Research and teaching areas: Syntactic theory (ellipsis in French, German, and English), history of English, language and gender, linguistics and education

Rodolfo Mata - Assistant Professor of Spanish & Linguistics

Rodolfo Mata

Office: Miller Hall 228

Phone: 360-650-3925

Email: r.mata@wwu.edu

BA, University of Texas at El Paso

MFA, University of Alaska 

PhD & MA, University of California

Professor Mata's current research focus is Spanish as a heritage language in the United States, particularly the U.S.-Mexico border area. His fieldwork analyzes some of the morpho-syntactic properties of Spanish (such as subjunctive) that may be vulnerable to language contact, as well as discourse-pragmatics elements such as fillers and discourse markers. At Western he teaches general & Spanish linguistics, as well as Spanish as a heritage language.

Cathy McDonald 


Phone: (360) 650-3236

Office: HU 349

PhD in Rhetoric and Language, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: discourse analysis, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics

Cheiron McMahill  


Phone: (360) 650-2551

Office: Miller Hall 304D

PhD in Applied Linguistics, Lancaster University, U.K.

MATESL, University of Washington

BS in Japanese Language and Linguistics, Georgetown University

Research and teaching interests: Language education policies in Japan, language ideologies and identities, multilingual children's education, and TESOL education 

Judith Pine 



Phone: (360) 650-4783

Office: Arntzen Hall 338

BA, Kansas State University

MA and PhD in Anthropology, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: linguistic anthropology, semiotics, literacy theory, upland peoples of SE Asia/southwest China, indigenousness/indigeneity, globalization/borders; language maintenance/reversing language shift/language endangerment.

Jordan Sandoval - Senior Instructor


Phone: (360) 650-4857

Office: Miller Hall 215C

BA, Western Washington University

PhD in Linguistics, University of Arizona

Research and teaching interests: experimental phonetics and phonology, the role of orthography in mental representations, and gender identity in language.

Trish Skillman   



Phone: (360) 650-4699

Office: Miller Hall 304E

BA, Stanford University

MEd, Western Washington University

Academic language development, second language acquisition methods, multilingual development, multicultural experience, and effective teaching.  

Edward Vajda    


Phone: (360) 650-4856

Office: Miller Hall 217D

BA, Indiana University

PhD in Slavic Linguistics, University of Washington

Research and teaching interests: morphology, historical linguistics, Russian and North Asian peoples and languages, in particular the Yeniseian family of Central Siberia.

Kathryn Vulić


Phone: (360) 650-3214

Office: Humanities 335

BA in English and French, Ohio State University

PhD in English, University of California at Berkeley

Research and teaching interests: Old and Middle English language and literature, manuscript studies

Ryan Wasserman 



Phone: (360) 650-3860

Office: Bond Hall 302A

BA, Western Washington University

PhD in Philosophy, Rutgers University

Research and teaching interests: metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of language

Suzi Wright 


Phone: (360) 650-7781

Office: Miller Hall 304A

Research and teaching interests: Second language acquisition, language/education policy, First Peoples' language revitalization, psycholinguistics, discourse analysis, functional linguistics.

Janet Zhiqun Xing 


Phone: (360) 650-3926

Office: Miller Hall 218D

PhD in Linguistics, University of Michigan

Research and teaching interests: Grammaticalization, semantic change, Chinese language pedagogy and acquisition


Research Associates

Western's Linguistics Program has two research associates.

Jeffrey Kaplan - Research Associate


Phone : (619) 594-5879

PhD, University of Pennsylvania

JD, University of San Diego School of Law 

Research and teaching interests:  discourse-functional syntax, pragmatics, language and law, in particular, applying principles of grammar, semantics,  pragmatics, and discourse structure to legal discourses such as contracts, legislation, wills, and other operative texts. 

John Lawler - Research Associate



Research and teaching interests:  Generative semantics and syntax;  Austronesian and Salishan languages;  Cognitive linguistics, especially MetaphorNegation, and Sound Symbolism;  English grammar and usage;  Language and MathematicsComputing, and Logic