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George Aaron Broadwell, Ph.D.

Elling Eide Professor of Anthropology
Associate Chair of Anthropology
Office: Turlington Hall, Room B364
Phone: (352) 294-7598


  • Ph.D. Linguistics, UCLA, 1990
  • M.A. Linguistics, UCLA, 1986
  • B.A. Linguistics, Harvard, 1983

Research Interests

Linguistic anthropology, syntactic theory, language, cognition, American Indian languages, Choctaw, Timucua, Copala Triqui, and Zapotec

Personal Statement

My primary research agenda focuses on endangered languages, primarily Native American languages of the United States and Mesoamerica. I am interested in the issues of integrating language description and documentation with contemporary work in linguistic theory. I am also committed to working with Native American communities to provide dictionaries, texts, and other materials that are useful in language revitalization and maintenance.

My long-term descriptive commitments have been to grammatical and lexical descriptions of Choctaw, contemporary Zapotec (San Dionisio Ocotepec, Macuiltianguis, and Sierra Juarez varieties), Colonial Valley Zapotec, Copala Triqui, and Timucua. I have also worked on grammatical issues in a number of other languages around the world (Mon, Kaqchikel, Kiche, Yucatec,Turkish, Crow, Muskogee).

I am interested in theoretical problems that include word order, causative structures, lexical semantics, negation, diachronic morphosyntax, and syntactic typology.

I teach, advise, and am a member of the graduate faculty in both the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Linguistics at Univeristy of Florida. I am particularly interested in working with graduate students who are interested in a combination of linguistic and anthropological training. I believe that Anthropology and Linguistics both have an important contribution to make in doing good research on the languages of the world.

I am also the Director of CoLang 2018, the Institute for Collaborative Language Research, which will be taking place at University of Florida in summer 2018. This is a five-week training program in language documentation and community consultation.

Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment

  • 2015 -present  Elling Eide Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • 2005 – 2015  Professor, Department of Anthropology, Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

Other Experience and Professional Memberships


Selected Publications

More Publications Available on Google Scholar

Contribution to Science

Documentation of contemporary languages of the Southeastern United States and Mesoamerica

I am currently engaged in fieldwork on Choctaw, Seminole Creek, and Copala Triqui, and I have also done work on several varieties of Zapotec and on several Mayan languages (Kaqchikel, K’ichee, and Yucatec.) I have been particularly interested in compiling dictionaries of these languages, collecting texts, and writing grammatical descriptions.

  • Albany Triqui Working Group. (2014-7). A Copala Triqui – Spanish – English dictionary
  • Broadwell, George Aaron. (2014-6). A San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec – Spanish – English dictionary.
  • Broadwell, George A. (2015). Valence-changing morphology in San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec. in Natalie Operstein and Aaron Huey Sonnenschein, eds. Valence changes in Zapotec: Synchrony, Diachrony, Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 79-92.
  • Broadwell, George Aaron. (2014). Language description and the lexicon: Verbs of wearing in two Oaxacan languages. In (Stefan Müller, ed.) Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, University at Buffalo. CSLI Publications:
  • Vidal-Lopez, Román. (2012). Nana naguan’ rihaan nij síí chihaan’ | Consejos para la gente Triqui |   Word of counsel for the Triqui people. Edited by George A Broadwell, Ashley LaBoda, Sharone Horowit-Hendler, and Gabriela Aquino Dehesa. IMS Occasional Publication No. 16. Albany NY: University at Albany.
  • Broadwell, George A; Castellucci, Gregg, and Megan Knickerbocker (2011). Toward an optimal account of partial agreement in Kaqchikel. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2011 conference. (Available at
  • Broadwell, George A. (2010). Two movement paradoxes in Zapotec. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2010 conference. (Available at
  • Broadwell, George A; Matsukawa, Kosuke; Martín del Campo, Edgar; Scipione, Ruth,; and Susan Perdomo (eds). (2009). The origin of the sun and moon: A Copala Triqui legend (Román Vidal López, narrator). Munich: Lincom Europa.
  • Broadwell, George A. (2006). A Choctaw reference grammar. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Broadwell, George A. (2006). Valence, information structure, and passive constructions in Kaqchikel. in L. Kulikov, A. Malchukov, and P. de Swart, eds. Case, Valency, and Transitivity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 375-392.

Investigation of colonial Native American languages

In some parts of the Americas there are several centuries of writing in native languages. Working with material in languages such as Timucua and Colonial Valley Zapotec requires a special set of theoretical and philological skills. I have been engaged in building resources (lexicons and text collections) for the study of these languages, and I have published on the grammar of Timuca and Zapotec and historical changes in their grammar. Brook Lillehaugen and I have collaborated for many years on building an online collection of texts in Colonial Valley Zapotec

  • Broadwell, George Aaron. (2016-2017). A Timucua-English dictionary.
  • Dubcovsky, Alejandra and George Aaron Broadwell. (2017) Writing Timucua, Recovering and Interrogating Indigenous Authorship. Early American Studies 15:409-441.
  • Lillehaugen, Brook Danielle, George Aaron Broadwell, Michel R. Oudijk, Laurie Allen, May Plumb, and Mike Zarafonetis. 2016. Ticha: a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec, first edition. Online:
  • Broadwell, George Aaron. (2015). The historical development of the progressive aspect in Central Zapotec. International Journal of American Linguistics. 81:151–85.

Syntactic theory

I am interested in a wide range of syntactic issues, including word order, control, binding theory, the morphology/syntax interface. I have worked in a variety of syntactic frameworks, including Principles and Parameters, Lexical-Functional Grammar, and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. I believe syntactic theory benefits from multiple theoretical perspectives and some degree of skepticism about our theoretical assumptions.

  • Broadwell, George Aaron. (2014). Syntax from the Bottom up: Elicitation, Corpus Data, and Thick Descriptions. In (Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds.) Proceedings of LFG14.   CSLI Publications:
  • Broadwell, George A. (2008). Turkish suspended affixation is lexical sharing. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2008 conference. (Available at
  • Broadwell, George A. (2007). Lexical sharing and non-projecting words: The case of Zapotec adjectives. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2007 conference. (Available at
  • Broadwell, George A. (2006). Alignment, precedence, and the typology of pied-piping with inversion. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2006 conference. (Available at
  • Broadwell, George A. (2005). It ain’t necessarily S(V)O: Two kinds of VSO languages. in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds. Proceedings of the Lexical Functional Grammar 2005 conference. (Available at

Computational modeling of language

I worked for many years with the research group at University at Albany headed by Tomek Strzalkowski on computational modeling of sociolinguistic interaction and the indentification and classification of metaphor.

  • Oliveira, Alandeom; Boz, Umit; Broadwell, George Aaron; and Troy Sadler. (2014). Student leadership in small group science inquiry. Research in Science & Technological Education 32:281-297.
  • Broadwell, George Aaron; Jennifer Stromer-Galley; Tomek Strzalkowski; Samira Shaikh, Sarah Taylor, Umit Boz, Alana Elia, Laura Jiao, Ting Liu, and Nick Webb. (2012). Modeling socio-cultural phenomena in discourse. Journal of Natural Language Engineering
  • Strzalkowski, Tomek; Samira Shaikh; Kit Cho; George Aaron Broadwell; Laurie Feldman; Sarah Taylor; Boris Yamrom; , Ting Liu; Ignacio Cases; Yuliya Peshkova; and Kyle Elliot. (2014). Computing Affect in Metaphors. Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Metaphor in NLP, pages 42–51, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • Strzalkowski, Tomek and George A Broadwell. (2013) Robust Extraction of Metaphors from Novel Data. NAACL Workshop on Metaphors in NLP.
  • Strzalkowski, Tomek and George A Broadwell (2013) Influence and Power in Group Interactions. in (Ariel M. Greenberg, William G. Kennedy, Nathan D. Bos and Stephen Marcus,eds) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction SBP 2013.
  • Broadwell , George A; Boz, Umit; Cases, Ignacio; Strzalkowski, Tomasz; Feldman, Laurie; Taylor, Sarah; Cho, Kit; and Nick Webb. (2013) Using imageability and topic chaining to locate metaphors in linguistic corpora. in (Ariel M. Greenberg, William G. Kennedy, Nathan D. Bos and Stephen Marcus,eds) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction SBP 2013.
  • Strzalkowski, Tomek; George A Broadwell; Jennifer Stromer-Galley et al. (2011). Modeling Socio-Cultural Phenomena in Online Multi-Party Discourse. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 2011.

Research Support

Ongoing Research Support

National Science Foundation, Documenting Endangered Languages
  • 2017-2018
  • CoLang 2018 – Institute for Collaborative Language Research
  • Co-PIs Eric Potsdam, Brent Henderson, and James Essegbey
  • $148,764

Completed Research Support (within the past three years)

IARPA, Metaphor program
  • 2012-2015
  • REMND – Robust Extraction of Metaphors from Novel Data
  • Co-PI with Tomek Strzalkowski (PI); Laurie Feldman (co-PI) and Sarah Taylor (co-PI)
  • $5,504,316.65