Alexander D. Smith
I am lecturer of linguistics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2017. My dissertation was a classification of the languages of Borneo, an island the size of the US state of Texas, and an area of considerable linguistic diversity. I also taught at the University of Hawai‘i and served as the project coordinator of the Endangered Languages Project and Catalogue of Endangered Languages (endangeredlanguages.com).
I am a historical linguist, Austronesianist, and have a special interest in diachronic phonology and metrical theory, especially diachronic OT, which utilizes constraint reranking as a trigger for historical phonological change. My research relies heavily on an active fieldwork schedule, and I have spent several months each year in Malaysia and Indonesia conducting linguistic research on Borneo. I have recently been intrigued by the prospect of working on the Austro-Tai hypothesis.
Materials from my fieldwork are stored at the Kaipuleohone language archive, hosted at the University of Hawaiʻi.
My latest is in Oceanic linguistics and covers the historical phonology of Hliboi, a Bidayuh language of Indonesia with a very interesting history of sound change. I have an upcoming paper in Diachronica along with my colleague Taraka Rama. Preprint here. In that paper we use Bayesian inference to create a new tree of Bornean languages and use it to show how environmental factors, such as large river systems, influence the development of Bornean subgroups. Current projects include a look at the history of schwa-initial words in Austronesian, which I argue are historically secondary, an attempted analysis of reduplicative phenomena in Roviana, a reconstruction of Proto-Austronesian stress, and more.
I am contributing three chapters to an upcoming volume on the Austronesian languages of Southeast Asia. I am covering current theory in Malayo-Polynesian internal subgrouping, Bornean linguistic typology, and the historical linguistics of the languages of Borneo.