Doris L. Payne
Department of Linguistics

University of Oregon, Eugene, OR  97403
Phone: (541) 346-3894               E-mail:

Field Work

Publications: Chronological  or  Topical
Nilotic Language Network
Maasai Language Project

Education & Professional Positions
Professional Associations
Students Supervised
Courses Taught

Field work: Primarily in urban Los Angeles, the Peruvian rainforest, the Venezuelan savannah, and urban/rural Kenya.

A Yagua house: Peruvian Amazon Field work is soooo tough.  The view from our Yagua house

My research has focused on  morphosyntax of little-studied languages, from typological, functional, and cognitive perspectives.  A particular interest has been verb-initial languages (Yagua,Panare,Maasai, some Austronesian), and those where order of major consituents is based primarily on cognitive - pragmatic factors such as identifiability and contrastive focus (O'odham or Papago).  However, I have also worked on fairly rigid grammatical relations languages (Chickasaw), and various South American languages.  A growing research question is split syntax.  Additional interests include sentence and discourse processingissues in verb-initial languages, the function of grammatical forms in discourse, and external possession.  I have had the priviledge of collaborating in study of additional languages with other investigators.  Most recently, I have been studying Maasai verb properties and working on a Maasai dictionary with several students.

Education & professional positions

1974    B.S.      Mathematics    Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois
1976    M.A.    Linguistics        University of Texas at Arlington
1985    Ph.D.    Linguistics        University of California at Los Angeles

1985-1986    Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
1986-1987    Research Associate for research in Venezuela, Department of Linguistics,
                        University of Oregon
1987-1993    Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
1993-2002    Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
2002-            Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
1994-            International Linguistics Consultant, Summer Institute of Linguistics
1997-1999     Chair, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
2008-             Director, African Studies, University of Oregon

Professional Associations
Since 1974 I have worked with the Summer Institute of Linguistics and normally teach in the Oregon Summer Institute of Linguistics program.  In summer 1998, for example, I led an introductory field methods course on Lunda (Bantu of Zambia), with Boniface Kawasha who is beginning a graduate program in Linguistics at Oregon.

Since 1995 I have collaborated on a Maasai dictionary and text data base with the Maasai Cultural Center, with native Maasai speakers Leonard Kotikash and Kimeli Ole-Naiyomah and others, and students at the University of Oregon  (Duke Allen, Austin Bush, Mitsuyo Hamaya, Kent Rasmussen, Cindy Schneider and others).

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