About Kelly


I am an associate professor of linguistics at Indiana University. I primarily teach courses in phonetics, phonology, and field methods. I run the Phonetics and Phonology Lab, affectionately known as PhonLab–you can see some of our recent works by accessing my researchgate page, located here.

I also head the Chin Languages Research Project. Indiana is home to >25,000 Burmese refugees, many of whom hail from Chin State in Western Burma/Myanmar and speak under- and undocumented languages from the Kuki-Chin subgroup of Tibeto-Burman.  Together with UG students who are members of the community and both UG and graduate linguistics students, we’re currently working on three languages–Hakha Chin or Laiholh, Zophei, and Lutuv–with a team composed of many students and collaborators.

Members of PhonLab/CLRP present findings from their summer research projects at IU’s Summer 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Want to support our work? Tax deductible gifts can be made at https://www.myiu.org/one-time-gift. Use the “search all funds” box to find Chin Languages Resource Fund.

I earned my PhD in linguistics from the University of Kansas (2013). I study the acoustics and typology of breathy voiced sounds–in particular, breathy voiced sonorants. I also do work around the issues of language endangerment and revitalization, and have an MA in Global Indigenous Nations Studies.

My linguistics MA research focused on sibilant harmony in Navajo. You can read more about it here.

My Indigenous Studies work involved creating a practical guide to basic linguistic concepts for people involved in community language work. You can read more about it here.

My doctoral research focused on breathy voiced sonorants in Marathi. You can read more about it here.

On this website you’ll find links to my MA thesis and dissertation, a copy of my CV, and a variety of academic resources:  posts about etiquette for undergraduates, how-tos on topics like internet and library research, and so forth. 

I lost a parent to brain cancer in 2016. Navigating academia through the fog of grief has been–well, a journey. Grief numbs the mind in many ways, and when your job requires mental clarity it can be a challenge to remain productive despite the fog. You’ll see some blog posts on that topic in the coming months.

If you have questions, comments, or want to suggest a topic for an etiquette post, don’t hesitate to do so!

Puzzling over some data with Dr. Steve Politzer-Ahles.

1 thought on “About Kelly

  1. Dave Rosenthal

    Kelly, I’m the editor of Side Effects, a public radio collaboration that focuses on healthcare issues. It’s based at WFYI/Indianapolis and includes station in six Midwestern states. We’ve done a number of stories about refugees and other immigrants, and we’re exploring new ways to share healthcare information with non-English speakers. For example, we solicit audience questions via text and email, and find the answers. We have produced Q&As in English and Spanish so far, but would like to add other languages.

    After reading the Indianapolis Monthly story on your work, I wondered if we could chat about the potential for collaboration. Here are some relevant examples:

    A series on refugees and immigrants: https://bit.ly/2WnHWmS
    Sample Q&As in English and Spanish: https://bit.ly/2WlIk52 and https://bit.ly/2z3LOkB



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