James A. Matisoff


About Professor Matisoff

Professor Matisoff at work.James A. Matisoff is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at UC Berkeley. His chief research interests include Southeast Asian languages (especially Tibeto-Burman and Tai), Chinese, Japanese, field linguistics, Yiddish studies, historical semantics, psychosemantics, language typology, and areal linguistics.

After having first taught at Columbia University (1966-69), he joined the Berkeley faculty in 1970. He has conducted extensive fieldwork on Lahu and other Tibeto-Burman languages in Thailand and China. He is one of the founders of the International Conferences on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL), which have been held annually since 1968. He is the founder and former editor of the journal Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, and is principal investigator of the Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and Thesaurus (STEDT) project, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation and The National Endowment for the Humanities since 1987.

Matisoff is the author of seven books, as well as many monographs and dozens of articles. His books include The Grammar of Lahu (1973/1982); Variational Semantics in Tibeto-Burman (1978); Blessings, Curses, Hopes, and Fears: psycho-ostensive expressions in Yiddish (1979); The Dictionary of Lahu (1988); Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman: system and philosophy of Sino-Tibetan Reconstruction (2003); English-Lahu Lexicon (2006); and The Tibeto-Burman Reproductive System: toward an etymological thesaurus (2008). The last three were published after his retirement in 2002. He is currently working on a comprehensive volume entitled Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia, to appear in the Cambridge Language Survey series.

Professor Matisoff is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on Southeast Asian linguistics.

Contact information

Prof. James A. Matisoff
University of California
Department of Linguistics
1203 Dwinelle Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2650

email: matisoff@berkeley.edu
Fax: (510) 643-9911
Dept. phone: (510) 643-9910