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Frances Karttunen

Curriculum Vitae


1970   Ph.D. in Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
1968   M.A. in Linguistics, Indiana University.
1964   A.B. in English, Radcliffe College/Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Positions Held

1978-2000   Research Scientist, Linguistics Research Center, Univ. of Texas.
(Senior University Research Scientist from 1987; retired 2000.)
1987-88   Program Director for Linguistics, National Science Foundation.
1981-82   Lecturer, Dept. of English, Univ. of Texas.
1980   Linguist, IBM Corporation, Austin, Texas.
1977-78   Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Texas.
1973-76   Extension Instructor, University of Texas.
1968-71   Research Associate, Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Texas.
1967-68   NSF Research Fellow, Computational Linguistics, RAND Corp.

Visiting Appointments

1999   Visiting Professor, Department of General Linguistics, University of Umeå.
1997-98   Bicentennial Professor of North American Studies, Univ. of Helsinki.
1991-92   Visiting Scholar in Linguistics and History, Univ. of Hawaii, Manoa.
1985-86   Fulbright Research Scholar and Visiting Lecturer, Finland.
1976   Visiting Assist. Prof., Jyäskylä Univ., Finland (summer).
1974   Visiting Assist. Prof., LSA Summer Institute, Univ. of Mass.
1972-73   Postdoctoral Visitor in Linguistics, MIT.
1972   Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, Tampere Univ., Finland.

Professional Societies and Boards

    Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas
    American Society for Ethnohistory
    Hawaiian Historical Society
    Nantucket Historical Association
    Member, editorial board of Estudios de cultura náhuatl

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

2000-01   James Bradford Ames Fellow
1996   City of Austin cultural service contract for exhibit "Luz and the Good Teachers," Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX
1994   American Council of Learned Societies travel grant to the 48th International Congress of Americanists, Stockholm
1994-95   National Endowment for the Humanities EH-21825. "The Valley of Morelos: Conquest, Conversion, and Conspiracy in Montezuma's Garden." A Summer Institute for University and College Faculty. (Withdrawn because award offered by NEH was insufficient to carry out institute as described in proposal)
1991-92   National Endowment for the Humanities EH-21392-91. "In the Land of Cortés and Malinche. Spanish Puebla and Indian Tlaxcala: An Encounter of Two Worlds." A Summer Institute for University and College Faculty
1989-90   American Council of Learned Societies grant-in-aid for Between Worlds, a book about interpreters and native informants
1988-89   National Endowment for the Humanities EH-20836. "Recreating the New World Contact: Indigenous Languages and Literature of Latin America." A Summer Institute for University and College Faculty
1986   National Endowment for the Humanities RL-20876-86 to complete The Art of Nahuatl Speech: the Bancroft Dialogues
1985-86   Fulbright research grant to Finland Research for Between Worlds
1982-85   National Science Foundation BNS82-08213. Research for Nahuatl and Maya in Contact with Spanish
1982   University Research Institute travel grant to International Congress of Americanists, Manchester, England
1978-81   Project director and principal investigator. National Science Foundation BNS78-17447 and BNS80-17608. Research for An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl
1977   National Endowment for the Humanities F77-80 for research on Nahuatl
1976   American Council of Learned Societies grant-in-aid for research on Nahuatl
1972   Fulbright senior lectureship in linguistics, Tampere University, Finland
1970   American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for the LSA Summer Institute, Ohio State University
1967-68   National Science Foundation fellowship in computational linguistics, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California
1964-65   National Defense Education Act Title VI fellowship to study Finnish at Indiana University

Research Experience

Independent research in Nahuatl and Maya carried out under grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Research in Finnish supported through a Fulbright research fellowship. Research on translators and interpreters carried out though the Fulbright research fellowship, and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Administrative Experience

Project Director for two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes

Project Director for two National Science Foundation research grants

Program Director, National Science Foundation, 1987-88

Participant in Federal Management Seminar, 1987

Courses Taught

Introduction to phonological theory, 1999. Languages of North America: indigenous, colonial, and immigrant, 1998, 1999. Intensive Nahuatl summer courses 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998. Nahuatl literature 1992. Mesoamerican literature 1989. Mesoamerican Indian languages and cultures 1986, 1989. Periodically: Introductory courses in English syntax, general linguistics, linguistics and language teaching, English as a foreign language, the history of the English language. Graduate courses in English stress and related phonology, the grammatical structure of Finnish, the grammatical structure of Nahuatl.


Speaking and reading ability: Finnish, Spanish, Nahuatl.

Reading ability: Latin, French, German, Swedish, Yucatecan Maya.

Linguistic acquaintance with: Old English, Estonian, Portuguese.


Language contact and language change; the social dimensions of language and culture contact; language learning in children and adults; descriptive linguistics; non-Indo-European languages, especially Mesoamerican and Finno-Ugric languages.

Invited Talks

"Nantucket's Cape Verdean Heritage." Nantucket Historical Association. 2002.

"Making Their Mark: African Americans and Literacy on Nantucket." Frederick Douglass Lecture, Nantucket Atheneum, 2002, and James Bradford Ames Lecture, 2001.

"Nantucket's New Guinea Neighborhood." African Meeting House, Nantucket Preservation Week, 2001.

"The Day of the Dead in Mexico." North Harris Community College, 1998, and Universities of Umeå and Helsinki, 1999.

"Raising the Alarm for Endangered Languages." Inaugural lecture as Bicentennial Fulbright Professor of American Studies, University of Helsinki, 1997.

(During the 1997-98 academic year as Bicentennial Professor I gave guest lectures at many Finnish institutions and also in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Italy.)

"Interpreters Snatched from the Shore: the Successful and the Others." John Carter Brown Library, October 19, 1996.

"The Many Faces of Malinche." Long Island University, April 9, 1996.

"Luciana's Worlds." Yale University, April 5, 1996; Radcliffe Women of Austin, April 20, 1996.

"From Wounded Knee to the Boy Scouts of America: Charles and Elaine--A Love Story." Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket, MA. December 16, 1995.

"The Contribution of the Work of Antonio del Rincón to 20th-Century Lexicography." Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City. December 7, 1995.

"Interpreters of Conquest." Boston College, October 10, 1995.

"British Imperialism and Creole Languages." Faculty Seminar on British Studies, University of Texas, Austin, February 24, 1995.

"The Nahuatl Language in the Work of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz." University of Texas, Austin, February 10, 1995.

"Between Worlds." St. Michael's College, October 12. 1994; North Harris Community College, September 14, 1994; University of Helsinki, February 17, 1995; Nantucket Atheneum, May 1995; University of Hawaii, Manoa, February 8, 1996.

"The Changing Image of Doña Marina." University of Houston, September 14, 1994.

"Approaching the Semimillennium: Language Contact in Mesoamerica." Symposium on the threatened and endangered languages of the Americas, at the International Congress of Americanists in Stockholm, Sweden. July, 1994.

"Roots and Tendrils: Finnish Ethnographers' Beyond-the Border Search for Identity in the Nineteenth Century." Joensuu University, Finland. June, 1994; Texfinns, November 14, 1996.

"Rethinking Malinche." San Diego State University, April 1994.

"The Lienzo de Tlaxcala," Benson Latin American Collection, March 1994.

"The Career and Contributions of Antonio Valeriano, Nahua Colleague of Bernardino de Sahagún." Colloquium on "The 'Discovery' of the Languages and Writing Systems of America." Paris, September, 1993.

"Sacajawea and Charles Eastman" at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, June 1993.

"Pidgin and Creole Languages as a Manifestation of Ecological Imperialism" (with Alfred W. Crosby). Annual meeting of the World History Association, Honolulu, June 1993.

During the academic year 1992-93 I was an invited speaker in three symposia: "Native Traditions in the Postconquest World" at Dumbarton Oaks; "Indigenous Literacy in Mesoamerica" at the annual meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory; and "The Ongoing Encounter" at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. I also gave invited lectures in Quincentenary series at Ohio State University and Tyler Junior College, Texas. Other guest lectures included two at Brigham Young University, one to the Department of Linguistics at Ohio State University, one to the Department of of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Maryland, and one to a linguistics class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the summer of 1991, I organized and chaired a symposium on "Jesuits Overseas" for the 47th Meeting of the International Congress of Americanists at Tulane University. During the academic year 1991-1992, I held a visiting appointment at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where I gave guest lectures in Latin American history and computational linguistics as well as a series of lectures on the material in Between Worlds. I also spoke at the Department of Linguistics and the Women's Studies Center at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and before the New Zealand Linguistic Society at the University of Auckland.

Besides the New Zealand universities, I have lectured at many of the Scandinavian universities, at the University of Barcelona, and at the IBM Scientific Center in Paris.

See Publications.


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