top of page

Alexander D. Smith

Hi! My name is Alexander D. Smith (just Alex is fine). I am a linguist, and a Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2017 and wrote my dissertation on the languages of Borneo, an island the size of the US state of Texas, and an area of considerable linguistic diversity.


My Linguistic interests are in historical linguistics, and I focus heavily on the comparative study of Austronesian languages. I am currently in charge of managing the content of the Austronesian Comparative Dictionary, a position that was given to me by the late Robert Blust. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding the ACD.


I have recently been intrigued by the prospect of working on the Austro-Tai hypothesis, and have some work in this area as well.

Apart from my academic interests, I am involved in various projects dealing with the documentation, description, preservation, and promotion of the indigenous languages of Borneo. I am in the process of uploading my large linguistic datasets to, a non-academic site designed for use by local community members in Borneo. I am also currently working on several dictionary projects with different communities in Borneo.

Archived Materials:

Materials from my fieldwork are stored at the Kaipuleohone language archive, hosted at the University of Hawaiʻi.

Kayanic comparative vocabularies


Kenyah, Long San

Bidayuh, Biatah

Kayan, Uma Nyaving



A collaboration with mitcho Erlewine and Carly J. Sommerlot  dealing with voice in Uma Nyaving Kayan will be presented at the upcoming Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics Conference: (unfortunately I cannot personally attend)

I will be virtually attending and presenting at the AFLA conference in Lund later this year:


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.

Available recordings and slideshows:

Two papers from the 2022 SEALS conference are available here.

Baram River


bottom of page