Pamela Munro

Distinguished Professor, Linguistics, UCLA

My primary research involves the study of all aspects of the grammar of a number of different American Indian languages (currently focusing on Chickasaw, Garifuna, Imbabura Quichua, and Gabrielino/Tongva/Fernandeño, as well as San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec and other varieties of Tlacolula Valley Zapotec, Pima, Lakhota, and Tolkapaya Yavapai, among others) and language families (especially Muskogean, Uto-Aztecan, Yuman, and Zapotecan), in addition to the Wolof language of Senegal and Gambia — their syntax, phonology, lexicon, history — both through fieldwork with native speakers and through comparative research and analysis of existing descriptions. (In my spare time I have also worked on UCLA student slang.) In the field of syntax, I am often concerned with problems of agreement, reference, and subjecthood. I consider it vital to make linguistic findings available to native speakers and other interested laymen through accurate, accessible descriptive and pedagogical materials, including dictionaries. I am particularly interested in working out better ways to make dictionaries, since I feel that this process generally illuminates most aspects of grammar.

Selected Publications

• Ronald W. Langacker and Pamela Munro. 1975. "Passives and their meaning", Language 51: 789-830.
• Pamela Munro. 1976. Mojave Syntax. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
• Katherine Siva Sauvel and Pamela Munro. 1981. Chem'ivillu' (Let's Speak Cahuilla). Los Angeles and Banning, CA: UCLA American Indian Studies Center and Malki Museum Press.
• Pamela Munro and Lynn Gordon. 1982. "Syntactic relations in Western Muskogean: A typological perspective", Language 58: 81-115.
• Maurice L. Zigmond, Curtis G. Booth, and Pamela Munro. 1990. Kawaiisu: Grammar and Dictionary, with Texts. University of California Publications in Linguistics 119.
• Pamela Munro. 1990. "Stress and vowel length in Cupan absolute nominals", IJAL 56: 217-50.
• Pamela Munro (editor); Susan E. Becker, Gina Laura Bozajian, Deborah S. Creighton, Lori E. Dennis, Lisa Renée Ellzey, Michelle L. Futterman, Ari B. Goldstein, Sharon M. Kaye, Elaine Kealer, Irene Susanne Veli Lehman, Lauren Mendelsohn, Joseph M. Mendoza, Lorna Profant, and Katherine A. Sarafian. 1991. Slang U. New York: Harmony Books. Excerpted as Pamela Munro, with Susan E. Becker, et al. "Party hats and pirates' dreams", Rolling Stone 600 (March 21, 1991): 67-69.
• Pamela Munro. 1993. "The Muskogean II prefixes and their significance for classification", IJAL 59: 374-404.
• Pamela Munro and Catherine Willmond. 1994. Chickasaw: An Analytical Dictionary. Norman - London: University of Oklahoma Press.
• Pamela Munro and Dieynaba Gaye. 1997. Ay Baati Wolof: A Wolof Dictionary (Revised Edition), UCLA Occasional Papers in Linguistics 19.
• Pamela Munro and Felipe H. Lopez, with Olivia V. Méndez, Rodrigo Garcia, and Michael R. Galant. 1999. Di'csyonaary X:tèe'n Dìi'zh Sah Sann Lu'uc (San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec Dictionary / Diccionario Zapoteco de San Lucas Quiaviní). Chicano Studies Research Center Publications, UCLA.
• William J. Frawley, Kenneth C. Hill, and Pamela Munro, eds. 2002. Making Dictionaries: Preserving Indigenous Languages of the Americas. University of California Press.
• Pamela Munro and Catherine Willmond. 2008. Chikashshanompa' Kilanompoli' (Let's Speak Chickasaw). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Languages I've Worked On

Cahuilla (Uto-Aztecan: California), Chemehuevi (Uto-Aztecan: Arizona, California), Cherokee (Iroquoian: Oklahoma, North Carolina), Chickasaw (Muskogean: Oklahoma), Choctaw (Muskogean: Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana), Creek-Seminole (Muskogean: Oklahoma, Florida), Crow (Siouan: Montana), Diegueño (Yuman: California), Gabrielino/Tongva/Fernandeño (Uto-Aztecan: California), Garifuna (Arawakan: Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua), Georgian (Karvelian: Caucasaus), Hopi (Uto-Aztecan: Arizona), Kawaiisu (Uto-Aztecan: California), Kiche/K'iche' (Mayan: Guatemala), Kiowa (Kiowa-Tanoan: Oklahoma), Lakhota (Siouan: South Dakota), Luiseño (Uto-Aztecan: California), Maricopa (Yuman: Arizona), Mohave (Yuman: Arizona, California), Navajo (Athabascan: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah), Pima (Uto-Aztecan: Arizona), Q'anjob'al (Mayan: Guatemala), Quichua (Imbabura) (Quechuan: Ecuador), Tübatulabal (Uto-Aztecan: California), Wolof (West Atlantic; Niger-Kordofanian: Senegal, Gambia), Yavapai (Tolkapaya) (Yuman: Arizona), Yupik (Eskimo-Aleut: Alaska), Zapotec languages of San Lucas Quiaviní, Macuiltianguis, Tlacolula, and San Juan Guelavía, as well as Colonial Valley Zapotec [16th-18th century] (Zapotecan; Otomanguean: Oaxaca).


• Recently I have taught UCLA undergraduate courses on American Indian linguistics (Linguistics 114, which currently includes coverage of the structure of Garifuna presented in collaboration with Mrs. Anita Lambey-Martinez, and a continuation of this class, Linguistics 191B).
• I work individually with graduate and undergraduate students in Linguistics, as well as graduate students in Applied Linguistics and American Indian Studies.
• I am proud to have served as the advisor or co-advisor for UCLA Ph.D.s in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics whose dissertations preserve vital information on endangered American indigenous languages, including Heriberto Avelino (Yalálag Zapotec), George Aaron Broadwell (Choctaw), Harold D. Crook (Nez Perce), John Foreman (Macuiltianguis Zapotec), Lynn Gordon (Maricopa), Heather K. Hardy (Tolkapaya Yavapai), Eric M. Jackson (Pima), Felicia A. Lee (San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec), Brook Danielle Lillehaugen (Tlacolula de Matamoros Zapotec), Jean Mulder (Tsimshian), Doris L. Payne (Yagua), Brian C. Potter (Western Apache), Janine L. Scancarelli (Cherokee), Charles H. Ulrich (Choctaw), Cynthia A. Walker (Chickasaw), Karen K. Wallace (Crow), and Robert S. Williams (Choctaw). (I'm also proud of my other Ph.D. students, including Susanna Cumming, Hyo Sang Lee, Rachel Lagunoff, Michaela Safadi, Stephan Schuetze-Coburn, Marian Shapley, and Isaiah Yoo.) Likewise, my master's students with theses on American languages in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, and American Indian Studies, including Janet Scott Batchler (Chickasaw), Janine Ekulona (Garifuna), Eric M. Jackson (Pima), Brook D. Lillehaugen (Valley Zapotec), Olivia V. Méndez (San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec), Alicia Moretti (Assiniboine), Angela Rodel (Lakhota), Rina Shapira (Pima), and Marcus A. Smith (Pima), as well as Christopher Adam (who wrote on Santo Domingo Albarradas Zapotec at CSU Northridge) and Christina Foreman (who wrote on a non-indigenous-language-related topic).

Please email me for information about our department's weekly American Indian and Indigenous Linguistics seminar, at which linguists and others from a number of UCLA departments and other institutions informally present ongoing research.

Contact Me

Office: 3326 Rolfe Hall, UCLA
Department: 3125 Campbell Hall, UCLA
Mailing address: UCLA Box 951543
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543