Publications & Presentations

Click here for my full curriculum vitae.

In Progress

  • (under revision). A canonical typology of flexible categories.

Refereed Publications

  • (Review article) On linguistics, linguists, and our times: A linguist’s personal narrative reviewed. Linguistic Typology 17(2): 291-321. August 2013. DOI: 10.1515/lity-2013-0013. Preprint available here.


  • Hieber, Daniel W. 2013. A dictionary of Chitimacha. Charenton, LA: The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. (not available for public purchase – please email me if you’d like a copy)

Workshops & Presentations

    • “Building the lexicon for awakening languages.” Paper presented at the Conference on Language Revitalization: Sleeping & Awakened Languages of the Gulf South, 7 March 2014, Tulane University, New Orleans LA.
    • “Semantic alignment in Chitimacha.” Paper presented at the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) Winter Meeting 2014, Minneapolis, MN. (pdf, pptx)
    • “The politically incorrect guide to language death”. Invited lecture given to ANTH 305, ‘Language and Culture’, Professor Amy L. Paugh, James Madison University, 6 November 2012. (pdfpttx)
    • (with Lorraine Manavi and Kasra Manavi). “Rosetta Stone and Navajo Language Renaissance: Collaboration for revitalization”. Invited plenary talk presented at Athabaskan Languages Conference, 16 Aug (15 – 17) 2012. (pdfpptx)
    • “An introduction to language typology”. Three-part lecture series. Rosetta Stone, Harrisonburg, VA. 15, 22 & 29 June 2012. (Part I: pdfpptx; Part II: pdfpptx; Part III: pdfpptx)
    • “Digital collaborationː 21st Century tools for revitalization”. Poster presented atː Language Revitalization in the 21st Century, 1 Jun (31 May – 1 Jun 2012, CUNY Graduate Center & the National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY. (posterhandout)
    • “Language endangerment and nationalism”. Invited talk co-sponsored by the Latin American Studies program and the Arts & Sciences Lectures Committee, The College of William & Mary, 27 January 2012. (pdfpptx)
    • “Language endangerment: A history”. Invited lecture given to ANTH 305 ‘Language and Culture’, Professor Amy L. Paugh, James Madison University, 10 November 2011. (pdfpptx)
    • “Canonical Typology”. Talk given to Rosetta Stone, Harrisonburg VA, Sept 2011. (pdfpptx)
    • (with Lorraine Begay Manavi and Marion Bittinger) “A case study in digital collaboration: Navajo Language Renaissance and Rosetta Stone Navajo”. Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 20 May 2011. (pdfpptx)
    • (with Marion Bittinger) “Language revitalization: Issues with reference to Navajo”. Invited lecture given to ANTH 305 ‘Language and Culture’, Professor Amy L. Paugh, James Madison University, 7 April 2011. (pdfpptx)
    • Workshop on Chitimacha language revitalization. Charenton, LA. 4 Oct 2010 – 9 Oct 2010. A one-week workshop with the Chitimacha tribe focusing on immersion teaching methods and best practices for dictionary creation. Invited.
    • “Elicitation techniques”. Invited talk given to Rosetta Stone, Harrisonburg VA, June 2010. (pdfdocx)
    • (with Marion Bittinger) “Language revitalization: Navajo”. Invited lecture given to ANTH 305 ‘Language and Culture’, Professor Amy L. Paugh, James Madison University, 12 November 2009. (pdfpptx)

    Book Reviews & Notices

    • Review of Documenting endangered languages: Achievements and perspectives, by Nicole Nau, Geoffrey L. J. Haig, Stefan Schnell, and Claudia Wegener. Linguist List 23.2390. 19 May 2012. Accessible at:

    Online Publications

    • Language and the socialist-calculation problem. Mises Institute, 7 September 2010. Accessible at: (Spanish version available here)

    Rosetta Stone Projects

    • Chitimacha (Sitimaxa). Cultural Department, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. Completed January 2010. Not available for public purchase.
    • Iñupiaq (Iñupiatun). Iñupiat History, Language and Culture Commission, North Slope Borough of Alaska. Completed August 2011. Not available for public purchase. (demo)

    Articles in the Media

    Non-Linguistic Publications

    • “18 going on 19″. In American Pilgrim Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 2005). (pdf)

    Unpublished Papers

    • “Syntactic typology of Choctaw & Nankina”. Term paper, Syntax / Typology, LSA Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Summer 2011. (pdf)
    • “Teaching from difference”. Class assignment, Linguistic Anthropology, James Madison University, Fall 2009. (pdf)
    • (with David Godfrey) “The Navajo language”. Class assignment, Linguistic Anthropology, James Madison University, Fall 2009. (pdf)
    • “On the status of the subject agreement marker in Swahili”. Term paper, Advanced Syntax, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Spring 2008. (pdf)
    • “A grammar of Turkish”. Term paper, Descriptive Linguistics, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Fall 2007. (pdf)
    • A linguistic review of Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L. Cheney & Robert M. Seyfarth. Class assignment, Science & Human Agency, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Fall 2007. (pdf)
    • “Language change and variation in Mombasa: Recent trends in Kimvita Swahili”. Independent study project, Development, Health & Society, School for International Training, Kenya, Spring 2007. (pdf)
    • “What’s in a word?: Code-switching in Mombasa Swahili”. Independent study project, Swahili Studies & Coastal Cultures, School for International Training, Kenya, Fall 2006. (pdf)
    • “Truth and the sentential hierarchy”. Term paper, Philosophy of Language, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Spring 2006. (pdf)
    • “Discourse connectives and pragmatic implications”. Term paper, Sentence Semantics, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Spring 2006. (pdf)

2 thoughts on “Publications & Presentations

  1. Nick Constantinou

    Hello Mr Hieber and Happy New Year,

    I am an amateur anthropologist and I realize that the strongest factor that most identifies a culture is language. I was reading an article you wrote recently where you state that around 8,000BC, as many as 20,000 languages may have been spoken throughout the world. Can you explain to me how linguists have derived at this number? I doubt they counted each language spoken at that time since I’m the vast majority of them left no written records so how can we know how many languages were spoken so long ago? I would be fascinated to learn this information.

    Thanks inadvance,
    Nick Constantinou

    1. Danny Hieber

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The number comes from doing the math with two figures: the classic estimate of the world population at the dawn of the Neolithic (10 million; from Lee, R. B. and I. DeVore (eds). 1968. Man the Hunter. Chicago: Aldine.), and linguists’ best estimates about the average size of languages at that time. It was very unlikely that many (any) languages had more than several thousand speakers, because community sizes simply could not support that large of a population yet, and languages would fracture and split as populations did the same. It’s more likely that each language was spoken by as few as several hundred speakers, and in fact this is still the case in many indigenous communities today. This is the ‘natural’ state for language. So if you assume 500 speakers per language, you get the 20,000 languages estimate; it can be as low as 5,000 if you take the 2,000 speakers-per-language estimate, but considering that we know of about 7,000 languages today, and we know that this number is much smaller than it was, because languages have been dying out, I think the 20,000 languages estimate is much more likely.

      Really, all these numbers are a bit deceiving though, because the best way to describe the linguistic situation of that era is as one giant continuum of dialects, where each community spoke a language slightly different from their neighbors. Then, as today, it would have been very difficult to draw fine lines between distinct ‘languages’, and determine what’s a language and what’s a dialect. So looking at the issue qualitatively rather than quantitatively, what we can say is that the Agrarian Revolution changed the state of the world’s languages from a smooth continuum of dialects to larger clumps of dialects on a continuum, and later the rise of the nation-state made for massive swaths of land with a single language. Clearly this results in an ongoing loss of linguistic diversity. I think the numbers that linguists throw around are largely arbitrary and hand-picked, but they’re a good way of representing quantitatively something we know is true qualitatively.

      Hope that’s helpful!



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