Assistant Professor, Writing
Thompson Hall 318
Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Oregon
M.A., Linguistics, University of Oregon
B.A., English, Concordia College
Linguistic typology, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, field methods, historical linguistics, morphology and syntax, functionalist approaches to language.
Tim Thornes received his BA in English with a Writing emphasis in 1984, learned carpentry, and joined the Peace Corps as a Rural Primary School Construction Supervisor in Gabon in 1988. After spending the next three years working and traveling across central Africa (including a three month coast-to-coast journey by train, barge, and bush taxi), he was drawn to the field-oriented study of language and was accepted into the graduate program in linguistics at the University of Oregon as a fledgling Africanist. His career took a decidedly Americanist turn when he volunteered to work with the last speaker of Yahooskin, an undocumented dialect of Northern Paiute, in the summer of 1994. He produced a beginner’s phrase book in 1995 along with an ethnohistorical study for the Klamath Tribes of south-central Oregon. His work on the language continued on the Burns Paiute reservation of eastern Oregon where he published weekly blurbs in the Tribal Newsletter while working on his dissertation, “A Northern Paiute Grammar with Texts,” the first comprehensive description of the language, completed in 2003. He spent the following year doing home remodeling while applying for grants to support his ongoing documentation of the language. He remained in Oregon as an adjunct professor and research associate, receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation that supported a full time research position from 2004-2007. He has presented and published widely on aspects of Northern Paiute grammatical structures while exploring their relationships both within the ecology of the language and from a cross-linguistic, typological perspective. He is presently at work on a volume of oral narratives in Northern Paiute, and two invited book chapters—one on multi-verb constructions and another on relative clause formation. His most recent publication ‘Historical pathways in Northern Paiute verb formation’ is set to appear in June 2009 as a chapter in the book New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions (Mouton de Gruyter).