Maria Polinsky to join UMD
We are delighted to welcome Maria (Masha) Polinsky to the language science community at Maryland. Masha is renowned for her research in cross-linguistic syntax and language universals, language processing and heritage languages. She is currently a Professor of Linguistics at Harvard, and will be joining us full time in Fall 2015 as Professor in the Department of Linguistics and an Associate Director of the Maryland Language Science Center. In the meantime she is already involved in some exciting projects and collaborations at UMD.
In theoretical syntax, Masha’s work spans a wide array of languages including Austronesian and Mayan languages, as well as languages of the Caucasus. She is a pioneer in bringing both the tools and the research questions of lab-based psycholinguistics to speakers of under-studied languages. She is currently working with the Language Science Center and other groups on plans to develop field stations: facilities beyond North America which will support interdisciplinary research involving indigenous communities, and which will allow for the use of traditionally lab-bound techniques such as eye-tracking and electrophysiology ‘in the field’.
Masha is also one of the leading figures in research on heritage language speakers, a group which includes more than 50 million Americans, and is co-director of the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA. Her research in this area focuses on understanding why there are such strong grammatical similarities found across heritage languages (regardless of the input language), how heritage speakers are different from other speakers and learners, and how this can inform models of language learning as well as effective language education for heritage speakers.
The breadth of Masha’s research and collaborations with language scientists throughout the world will make her a key participant in the Language Science Center’s rapidly growing international activities.
For more information on her research, publications, and interests: http://scholar.harvard.edu/mpolinsky