Carolyn MacKay

Carolyn MacKay

Professor of English


Room:RB 379

My research focuses on documenting, describing and analyzing the linguistic structure of two Mexican Indian Languages -- Misantla Totonac and Pisaflores Tepehua -- with the aim of publishing grammars, texts, dictionaries, and ethnographic details associated with language use and maintenance. I am publishing descriptive and theoretical articles based on the structure of Misantla Totonac and Pisaflores Tepehua, eg. reciprocal constructions, symmetrical objects, phonology, comitative constructions, etc. I am currently working on establishing the distribution of languages within the Totonac-Tepehua area and reconstructing their ancestral language, proto-Totonac-Tepehua.

I have also described and analyzed the linguistic structure of an Italian dialect -- Basso-Bellunese Veneto -- as it is used in Italy and in an immigrant community in Chipilo, Mexico. In both cases, Totonac and Veneto, I am interested in determining how languages and language use patterns change over time. I also examine the interaction of language and social factors and the impact that interaction has on minority language maintenance.

Areas of Specialization

Native American Linguistics, Minority Language Maintenance, Language and Culture, Sociolinguistics, Language and Gender, Field Methods, Ethnography of Communication, Language and Prehistory, Historical Linguistics, Romance Languages and Dialectology, Phonology, Morphology.


Graduate Courses: Sociolinguistics, Language and Culture, Dialectology, Language and Gender, Research/Field Methods, Introduction to Linguistics, Bilingualism and Contact Languages.

Undergraduate Courses: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Society, Introduction to Linguistics, Language and Gender, Native American Languages and Cultures.

Carolyn MacKay's curriculum vitae