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Marianna Di Paolo
Ph.D. (Director)

Marianna Di Paolo ( is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology(University of Utah) and a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History (the Smithsonian). She was the founding Chair of the University of Utah’s Department of Linguistics, currently an Adjunct Associate Professor in that department. She is the Director of the Shoshoni Language Project at the University of Utah, a project that begin in collaboration with Mauricio Mixco.Professor Di Paolo’s first language is a dialect of Italian, having been raised in a small, immigrant town in Colorado. She began to learn English before starting elementary school. Her love of languages and linguistic diversity, and her appreciation of the importance of language to her own identity began in her childhood home. She received a B.A. with honors at the University of Colorado-boulder, trained as a teacher of Spanish and English as a Second Language. Her Ph.D. is in Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin

As a sociolinguist her research focuses on sociophonetics; variation and change in Western American English and Shoshoni; and on the documentation and revitalization of the Shoshoni language. Her recent publications include “The Peripatetic History of ME *ɛ:” (with A. Faber & C.T. Best, 2010), Sociophonetics: a Student’s Guide (co-edited with M. Yaeger-Dror, 2011 Routledge), and Languages and Dialects in the U.S.: Focus on Diversity and Linguistics (co-edited with A.K. Spears, 2014 Routledge). In addition to serving on and chairing a number of committees at the University of Utah, she has been a member of the Advisory Board of LinguistList, the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), and since 2003 has served on the Utah State Supreme Court Committee on Model Utah Jury Instructions-Civil. In 2003 she chaired the LSA’s Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics. She launched the Best Practices in Sociophonetics Workshops in 2004, offered annualy at the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference or at the LSA Linguistics Institute.

Lisa Johnson
(Laboratory Manager)

Lisa Johnson is excited to join the team at the Shoshoni Language Project. She has a Master of Arts degree in linguistics and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology at the University of Utah. With research interests in language documentation and revitalization, Lisa looks forward to learning about language and culture from the Shoshone community.

Sarah Arnoff
(Research Assistant)

Sarah Arnoff graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with degrees in linguistics and journalism. She has worked on the Shoshoni Language Project since 2012 and has contributed to the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program, collaborated on the Shoshoni Talking Dictionary project and Shoshoni children’s books.

Jennifer Mitchell (Administrative Assistant)

Jennifer L. Mitchell is the Administrative Assistant for the Shoshoni Language Project in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah. Mrs. Mitchell has held the AA position for over five years. Mrs. Mitchell has also worked for the Center for American Indian Languages, University of Utah. Scholarships, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships awarded to Mrs. Mitchell throughout her academic career enabled her to obtain a Master’s of Arts in Linguistics, with an exploratory thesis focused on historical developments in Shoshoni phonology. Mrs. Mitchell strives to bridge her background in higher education with a solid knowledge of research administration and grant management in order to meet the varied goals of indigenous communities.

Trent Griffith (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Trent Griffith is a Shoshone From Ely Nevada. He is currently attending college at Great Basin College in Ely. He has also taken classes from Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). His education is moving in the direction of visual technologies such as Photoshop, web design, and other media. He has attended three summers of SYLAP and has collaborated on projects such as illustrating the children’s storybooks, creating audio versions of the books, and creating the first ever Shoshoni Language video game, Enee! He is currently working on translations and transcriptions of legacy audio recordings for the Shoshoni Language Project at the University of Utah.

Justin Martin
(Language Consultant)

Justin comes from the Yomba Shoshone Indian Reservation in Reese River Valley, Nevada. He is the grandson of Darlene Hooper and great-grandson of Yomba’s Secretarial Founder, Alice Kawich-Hooper. He was first introduced to the Shoshoni Language Project during the inaugural summer of the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program as a student in 2009. Since 2012, Justin has been involved with numerous projects, including working on a traditional ethno-botanical Shoshone guide (Native Plant Book), as well as working on the Shoshoni Talking Dictionary, and developing curriculum for Shoshoni language learning for SYLAP. He is currently studying the fields of Anthropology and Ecology.

Present and Past Collaborators 

(in alphabetical order)

Abdulaziz Alzoubi
Derron Borders
Sarah Braden
Samuel Broncho
Margene Bullcreek
Cora-Joelle Ahweesho Burchett
Norm Cavanaugh
Xinling Chen
Beverly Crum
Earl Crum
Gene Deal
Daniel Dixon
Dirk Elzinga

Rai Farrelly
Genevieve Fields
Nancy Garcia
Laurie Gibson
Drusilla Gould
Delphina Gould
Boyd Graham
Lindsay Hansen
Bryan J. Hudson
Julia James
Shakea Jim
Rosie Jones
Arloa Kelly
Tamrika Khvtisiashvili

Eric Komperud
Jeanne Lachowski
Bernice Lalo
Alexus Leyva
Garrett Malotte
Jelena Marcovic
Karen Marsh
Katherine Matsumoto-Gray
Miranda McCarvel
John McLaughlin
Mauricio Mixco
Nyoka Morris
Elwood Mose

Vivian Ngai
Neil Olsen
Jeff Pynes
Amanda Rabideau
Esperanza Reyes
Ruby Ridesatthedoor
Rupert Steele
James Sewell
Rob Sykes
Stephanie Tabibian
Helen Timbimboo
Jackleyn Van Buren
Debbie Wager

List of SYLAP participants

Last Updated: 2/11/17