Carol Genetti

Professor Emerita

Contact Phone

(805) 893-3574

Office Location

South Hall 3520


Language documentation and description, endangered languages, phonology, morphology, syntax, typology, language change, Tibeto-Burman and Himalayan languages, Rhaeto-Romance


I am a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Dean of the Graduate Division at UC Santa Barbara. My research centers around the documentation and description of languages of the Himalayas, especially Tibeto-Burman. (I have a secondary interest in Rhaeto-Romance, but have not fully explored this yet. I also love everything Bantu.) I am interested in all aspects of language and especially in how linguistic structures are shaped by the function of language as a tool of human communication. I am specialize in the syntax of complex sentences, but have much broader interests in phonetics, phonology, morphology, clause structure, typology, language change, and language contact.
I am actively involved in efforts to preserve the world’s linguistic diversity and am especially interested in the role of training in these efforts. I am a Co-Founder of the Consortium for Training in Language Documentation and Conservation ( and will continue working to expand this organization. I am also a member of the LSA Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation. 

I have recently published an edited textbook, How Languages Work, published by Cambridge University Press (March 2014). This book has a number of unique features, such as extensive multimedia materials, interactive problem sets and other fun tools, and lots of resources for instructors and students. 

Full CV



For more current publications, see my website.

In press. The Tibeto-Burman language of South Asia: The languages, their histories, and genetic relationships. South Asia, ed. by Elena Bashir, Hans Henrich Hock, and K. V. Subbarao. [Fields of Linguistics.] Mouton.
2014. How Languages Work: An introduction to language and linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Editor)
2013 (with Rebekka Siemens). Training as empowering social action: An ethical response to language endangerment. Language death, endangerment, documentation, and revitalization, ed. by Edith Moravcsik and Kathleen Wheatley. New York: John Benjamins.
2013. Tense-aspect morphology from nominalizers in Newar. Functional-historical approaches to explanation, ed. by Tim Thornes, Erik Andvik, Gwendolyn Hyslop, and Joana Jansen. (Typological Studies in Language 103.) John Benjamins.
2008.  Syntactic Aspects of Nominalization in Five Tibeto-Burman Languages of the Himalayan Area. With Ellen Bartee, A. R. Coupe, Kristine Hildebrandt, and You-Jing Lin. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 31.2. 97-144.
2007.  A Grammar of Dolakha Newar. (Mouton Grammar Library 40.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 


Undergraduate Courses

  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Introduction to Phonetics
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • Languages of the World
  • Field Methods

Graduate Courses

  • Language documentation
  • Advanced Phonology
  • Seminar on Phonological Theory in the 20th Century
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • Advanced Syntax
  • Syntax Beyond the Clause
  • Typology and Universals
  • Seminar on Tibeto-Burman Languages
  • Seminar on Nepalese Linguistics
  • Seminar on Clause-Chaining and Related Structures
  • Field Methods (Nepali, Dokpa Tibetan, Singhala, Dzala, Shona)