Country of residence

United States

Brief introduction

Professor of Balkan and Slavic Linguistics, Director, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, University of Chicago


Ph.D., Linguistics AND Slavic Languages and Literaturees (dual degree), 1975, University of Chicago

Academic profile

I have conducted linguistic fieldwork in the Balkans and the Caucasus for the past four decades. My interests are gramatical categories, language contact, dialectology, language status, language standardization, language and identity, sociolinguistics, codeswitching, multilingualism, language ideology, and areal linguistics with particular focus on the Balkans and the Caucasus. I began studying Romani in 1973-74 while doing dissertation fieldwork on Macedonian in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.  I have published articles on Romani grammar, etymology, and dialectology, on the formation of standard Romani, and on the place of Romani in Balkan linguistics. I also teach Romani linguistics on occasion. In 1984 I was the first scholar to present a paper on Romani at a Congress of the International Association for Southeast European Studies (AIESEE). In 1992 I participated in a conference sponsored by the government of the Republic of Macedonia concerning the standardization of Romani in Macedonia for teaching as a subject of study. In 2008-09 I conducted fieldwork in Skopje on multilingualism (including Romani) funded by Fulbright-Hays and Guggenheim.


  • The Earliest Text in Balkan (Rumelian) Romani: A Passage from Evliya Çelebi's Seyāhat‑nāme (with Robert Dankoff). Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society (Fifth Series) [now Romani Studies], Vol. 1, No. 1, 1991. 1‑20.
  • The Romani Language in the Republic of Macedonia: Status, Usage, and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Acta Linguistica Hungarica, Vol. 46, No. 3‑4, 1999. 317‑339.
  • Dialectological Perspectives on Romani in the Balkan Linguistic League. Balkansko ezikoznanie - Linguistique balkanique. Vol. 45, No. 1, 2006. 45-54.


Linguistics, standardization, identity, Balkans, Caucasus

Contact browse members list