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Wrote 7 novels and 2 novelettes with American Indian themes between the ages of 11 and 15.  After early aspirations to be a poet I did a B.A. in anthropology before turning to linguistics.  Most of my career has been devoted to comparative Austronesian, with field data collected for exactly 100 languages in Sarawak (1971), the Admiralty Islands, the largest research project ever undertaken on Austronesian languages, and one of the largest single-authored projects in the history of linguistics.  Other publications include over 230 articles, reviews, etc. in anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics journals, including the first scientifically plausible theory of the origin of dragons (see item 110 in the above list of publications).islands of Papua New Guinea (1975), and Taiwan (1994-1999), as well as work with individual speakers of Austronesian languages outside their home countries.  Major publications include The Austronesian Languages (2009, 2nd online edition 2013), the first single-authored book to cover the entire language family, and the ongoing Austronesian Comparative Dictionary (





I don’t have much to add to this except to say that I am currently writing another book, The dragon and the rainbow, which is intended to reach a much wider readership than anything I have done in linguistics.  So far I have worked on it for five weeks, and have written 53 pages ---- slow for me, but steady.





Current position 



Department of Linguistics, Moore 569

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822





B.A. 1967.  University of Hawai’i (Anthropology)

M.A. 1968.  University of Hawai’i (Linguistics

Ph.D. 1974. University of Hawai’i (Linguistics)


Employment history


1984-present Associate and Full Professor

Department of Linguistics

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822


1976-1984 Assistant and Associate Professor

Department of Languages and Cultures of Southeast Asia and Oceania

University of Leiden, Netherlands


Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department of Linguistics

Research School of Pacific Studies

Australian National University

Canberra, Australia


Military service 

U.S. Army, 3/63-2/66: MOS, Southeast Signal School, Fort Gordon, Georgia; permanent duty station: Schofield Barracks, Hawai’i; special training: 25th Division Language School (Indonesian), 9/63 to 3/64; attached to U.S. Military Technical and Advisory Group (MILTAG), Jakarta, Indonesia, 3/64 to 5/64.  Taught Indonesian in 25th Division Language School, 9/64 to 12/65.


Fieldwork experience

I have field experience varying from six to 451 contact hours with 100 Austronesian languages, showing the following regional breakdown:


Taiwan : 6 Sulawesi : 1

Philippines : 1 Eastern Indonesia : 5

Borneo : 44 Micronesia : 2

Mainland SE Asia : 2 Melanesia : 36

Sumatra : 2

Java-Bali : 1


I also have classroom fieldwork experience with Skagit (Salishan), Armenian (Indo-European), and Sentani (Papuan).


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