Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald, UT Arlington


Upper Left: Check out CoLang 2014: The Institute on Collaborative Language Research, scheduled June 16-27, 2014.  Lower left, Waw Giwulk, located on the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona. Right, me in River Legacy Park in Arlington. (Rightmost photo by R. Crosby)

I am currently Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics & TESOL at the University of Texas at Arlington, where in 2012, I completed a four-year term as Department Head. In 2014, I will serve as Director of the 2014 Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang/InField), supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS grant#1263939). among others. I am also Co-Director of the Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop, also supported by NSF(BCS#1065068), next scheduled for May 2014. My research focuses on documenting and revitalizing Native American languages and studying their phonology, especially Tohono O'odham, Chickasaw, Choctaw and others in the Southwest. Overall, I have garnered external funding for these and other research activities in the amount of $330,311; I am currently PI on 3 active NSF grants totalling $274,571, including one focused on the Chickasaw verb (BCS#1263699.) for collaborative work with Mr. Joshua Hinson of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program on Documentation and Analysis of the Chickasaw Verb.

I teach language documentation and revitalization at summer institutes and short workshops, including the American Indian Language Development Institute (2013), InField/CoLang (2012, 2014) and ONLA (since 2009). For more on my work and collaborations with Native American communities, click here. My full CV is online here.


Phonological Theory:  My interests here lie in prosody, reduplication and meter, and in language documentation and revitalization. My work has been focused especially in Tohono O’odham, but more recently on languages of Oklahoma, including Chickasaw and Choctaw. I have also published on Somali, Tigrinya, English, and Buchan Scots English.


The Tohono O’odham Language:  My interest in the Tohono O’odham language dates back to 1993. The O’odham language is a member of the Uto-Aztecan language family, and it is still spoken in southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  Estimates vary, but there are probably between 8,000 and 9,000 speakers.   Various projects have focused on phonology and morphology of O’odham.  More recently, I have been working on legacy documentation, especially archival material, and on language documentation and revitalization.  Current projects involve finishing an electronic version of Madeleine Mathiot’s 1973 dictionary (A Dictionary of Papago Usage) and compiling a text database from unpublished materials collected in a dialect survey by Drs. Ofelia Zepeda and Jane Hill in the 1980s. I have two recent papers on O’odham (from 2012):  one on Prosodic Inconsistency in Tohono O’odham (IJAL 2012) and the other on verbal arts and contemporary storytelling (in an edited collection in 2012, with P. Miguel).

The Chickasaw Language: Chickasaw, a Muskogean language originally in the Southeastern United States, is now spoken in south central Oklahoma by at most, 80 speakers. Along with Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program Director Joshua Hinson, I am engaged in revitalization-driven documentation of the language which includes research funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS#1263699). A large component of this project focuses on the verb. I am also developing pronunciation-based materials to support learners.

Oklahoma Breath of Life: Silent No More Workshop: The Oklahoma Breath of Life, Silent No More Workshop is a week long (Sunday through Friday), intensive workshop in linguistics and language renewal. The workshop is especially designed for indigenous people from communities who no longer have any fluent, first language speakers. With motivation from community members, archival documentation, and training in how to use this documentation, these languages can have a new breath of life and can be spoken again. I was co-director of the 2012 OKBOL Workshop, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF BCS Grant#1065068). We are currently disseminating our results from 2012 and planning for 2014.

Language Documentation, Revitalization, and Endangerment: The intersection of my research, teaching and service comes in a general way focusing on issues of language endangerment, language documentation, and revitalization of endangered languages.  At UT Arlington, I've integrated service learning with indigenous communities into several courses, starting with my Spring 2010 seminar, LING 6390 Sustainability and Language Endangerment, which included outreach and service components working on language documentation and revitalization projects with Texas and Oklahoma tribal communities and educational institutions. There is more information on these projects at the website for my lab, the Native American Languages Lab.  


Service Learning:  Service-learning partners community service activities with reflection and theoretical tools as a classroom pedagogy, creating experiential learning opportunities for students.  I’ve presented models of service learning in linguistics at several conferences and journals, most recently Language and Education and also Language and Linguistics Compass (supplemental info for the paper).   Talks on this with regard to my Oklahoma project were given at the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference in 2010 and at the 2011 International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation.  For the slides to my American Dialect Society talk, as part of a panel on Cultivating Socially Minded Linguists:  Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship in Linguistics and Education, given at the 2010 Baltimore LSA Meeting click here.  


American English and Multiculturalism: I’ve published, presented and taught on dialects of American English and multiculturalism in the United States (regarding language issues).




At UT Arlington, I've taught undergraduate and graduate courses in phonetics and phonology, as well as graduate courses in linguistic field methods and sustainability and language endangerment.

LING 6390  Sustainability and Language Endangerment (Spring 2010 seminar)




My activities have included leading departmental graduate teaching assistant orientations at SUNY Buffalo and UT Arlington, as well as some instances of supervising the practicum courses for TESOL students.

I am very active in training for Native American language teachers and community activities for their work in language revitalization and maintenance.  Some recent slides from my training session at ONLA in 2010 are here.


My complete UT Arlington research profile is also available online.

Contact info

Email:  cmfitz@uta.edu

Mailing address:      Box 19559

                                     The University of Texas at Arlington

                                     Arlington, TX  76019-0559