Lenore A. Grenoble

Faculty Photo
John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor/Chair, Department of Linguistics
Rosenwald 214
Office Hours: By Appointment
(773) 702-0927
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1986
Teaching at UChicago since 2007
Research Interests: Multilingualism, Contact & Shift, Language Vitality & Sustainability, Arctic Indigenous Languages, Slavic Languages, Interactional Sociolinguistics, Deixis and Spatial Language

Dr. Lenore A. Grenoble specializes in the study of language contact and shift in Indigenous settings, with particular attention to the Arctic. Her work is empirically driven, and her current interests focus on language usage in multilingual settings, with particular attention to Arctic Indigenous language communities. She is presently involved in several collaborative projects that investigate the linguistic, social and cognitive causes and outcomes of contact and shift, coupled with questions about the impact of urbanization and climate change, on Arctic Indigenous language vitality. Alongside these projects, she is involved in research into language revitalization and how to create long-term sustainable language practices. Her current field and documentation work is centered in the Russian Far North and Arctic, and in Greenland. Grenoble is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). In 2018 she held the Fulbright Arctic Distinguished Chair, Norway. She has received grants from the NSF Program in Linguistics and the Program in Documenting Endangered Languages.

Recent Publications

Books/Edited Volumes: 

  • Saving Languages. Lenore A. Grenoble & Lindsay Whaley. 2006. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Language Policy in the Former Soviet Union. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press, 2003.
  • Language Documentation: Practices and Values. Lenore A. Grenoble & N. Louanna Furbee, (eds.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins Press, 2010. [paperback edition: 2012]
  • Endangered Languages: Current Issues and Future Prospects. Lenore A. Grenoble & Lindsay Whaley, (eds.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Selected Articles:

  • Grenoble, Lenore A., Hilary McMahan & Alliaq Kleist Petrussen. 2019. "An ontology of landscape and seascape in Greenland: The linguistic encoding of land in Kalaallisut." International Journal of American Linguistics 85(1). 1-43. doi: 10.1086/700317
  • Grenoble, Lenore A., Jessica Kantarovich, Irena Khokhlova & Liudmila Zamorshchikova. 2019. "Evidence of syntactic convergence among Russian-Sakha bilinguals." Suvremena Lingvistika 45 (7). 41-57. doi:10.22210/suvlin.2019.087.05
  • Grenoble, Lenore A. 2019. "Contact with and without shift: The case of nado." In James J. Pennington, Victor A. Friedman, & Lenore A. Grenoble, eds. And Thus You Are Everywhere Honored,151-166. Bloomington, IN: Slavica.
  • Grenoble, Lenore A. 2019. "Conversational structure & Russian interactiona grammar." In Nicole Richter & Nadine Thielemann (eds.), Urban voices: Studies in the sociolinguistics, grammar and pragmatics of spoken Russian, 219-236. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.doi:10.3726/978-3-653-05675-4
  • Pillion, Betsy, Lenore A. Grenoble, Emmanuel Ngué Um & Sarah Kopper. 2019. "Verbal gestures in Cameroon." In Emily Clem, Peter Jenks & Hannah Sande (eds.), Theory and Description in African Linguistics: Selected Proceedings of the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 303-322. Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.3367152
  • Phillips, Jacob, Lenore A. Grenoble, Peggy Mason & Giovanna Hooton. 2019. "The role of somatosensation in perceptual recalibration from speech imagery." In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.), Proceedings of the 2019 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences Melbourne, Australia 2019, 894-898. Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. https://assta.org/proceedings/ICPhS2019/papers/ICPhS_943.pdf

Recent Courses

Field Methods I & II (LING 40301/40302) 

The field methods course is a two-quarter course, taken by graduate students and advanced undergraduates. (Students may elect to take the course more than once.) This course is devoted to the elicitation, transcription, organization, and analysis of linguistic data from a native speaker of a language not commonly studied. Students will also gain practical experience in the use of fieldwork equipment. Language chosen may vary from year to year.

Contact and Cognition (LING 40200)

Cognitive mechanisms have long been recognized as playing an important role in shaping the output of language contact and change, but how exactly cognition contributes to contact and change has rarely been systematically investigated. This class aims at integrating insights from both psycholinguistics and contact linguistics. We will discuss learning and processing mechanisms that support language comprehension, production and first/second language acquisition, and ask how such mechanisms play a role in language contact/change, and also how empirical data from contact linguistics can in turn refine our understandings of these mechanisms.

Contact Linguistics (LING 26310/36310)

This seminar focuses on current research in contact linguistics in a global perspective, including but not limited to the impact of languages of wider communication (e.g. English, Russian) in contact with other languages. Topics to be covered include the following: language/dialect contact, convergence and language shift resulting in attrition and language endangerment and loss. Other contact-induced linguistic changes and processes to be considered include borrowing, code-switching, code-shifting, diglossia, loss of linguistic restrictions and grammatical permeability, and the impact of language contact in the emergence and/or historical development of languages.

Multilingualism: Theory and Praxis (LING 24320/34320)

This course focuses on current approaches to the study of bi- and multilingualism, taking a broad definition that understands bilingualism as the use of  more than one language. Individuals show a great deal of variability in the ways they acquire and use different languages, and can most We focus on the use of multilingualism in society, asking theoretical questions such as:

  • How people use their multilingual repertoire in different settings and different kinds of interactions, ranging from face-to-face communication to multilingual practices
  • The use of different languages (and linguistic varieties) in indexing social identity
  • Theoretical questions in the differences between code-switching, the idea that speakers alternate between one language and another, versus translanguaging, the claim that both (or all) languages are constantly active, and the multilingual speaker actively chooses one or another depending on which is appropriate, in an integrated communicative approach
  • How individuals are socialized into using different languages, and how language ideologies affect language policies and practices in the family, in educational settings, in the workplace, and more broadly in society

At the same time, we consider the practical study of multilingualism, assessing proficiency, language attitudes and awareness of multilingualism. The course is based on readings and a hands-on project involving data collection and analysis.