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Mayan Language Research

Most people associate the Maya with the ruins of the great lowland cities of the Classic Maya civilization (c. AD 250-900). What many don't realize, though, is that there are millions of Maya people in modern day Mexico and Central America who speak languages that are direct descendants of those languages spoken during the Classic period. It is just like how the Roman Empire and its Latin language are gone, but millions of people still speak modern related languages like Spanish and Italian.

Dr. Robert Henderson's research focuses on the contemporary Mayan languages of highland Guatemala and what they can tell us about how human languages work in general. Over the past 8 years he has done fieldwork in Guatemala on three different languages---Kaqchikel, K'ichee', and Uspanteko. This work has resulted in publications in premier journals like Natural Language and Linguistic Theory and major conference proceedings like Semantics and Linguistic Theory.

His current primary research project examines verbal pluractionality and its effects on argument structure. He also has a second set of research projects with longtime collaborator Ryan Bennett on prosody and prosodic morphology in K'ichean-branch Mayan languages.


5057 Woodward Suite 10303
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 577-8642
Fax: (313) 577-8618
Website: http://clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/linguistics
Email: linguistics@wayne.edu