Profile picture of Don Daniels

Don Daniels

Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Office: 275 Straub Hall
Office Hours: Tue 9:30-10:30, 1:30p-3:30p
Research Interests: language change, comparative reconstruction, morphosyntax, Papuan languages, fieldwork


Don’s research focuses on endangered languages in Papua New Guinea, where he has been conducting fieldwork since 2006. He is interested in language change, both from a theoretical perspective (what kinds of changes are possible in language, and how can we account for them?) and from a methodological one (how can we reconstruct proto-languages?). His research also focuses on synchronic language documentation as well as morphosyntactic description, theory, and typology. Because his research straddles both synchrony and diachrony, and because of his interest in morphosyntax, he is especially interested in theories that can “do it all”—that can accurately model language structure as well as change, and that are compatible with methods of comparative reconstruction. He works primarily with languages of the Madang branch of Trans New Guinea, and is currently involved in a long-term documentation project of the Sgi Bara (or Jilim) language.


Ph.D. 2015, University of California, Santa Barbara

M.A. 2011, University of California, Santa Barbara

B.A. 2006, Dartmouth College


2024. Don Daniels, Zoë Haupt & Melissa M. Baese-Berk. The phonetics of vowel intrusion in Sgi Bara. Journal of Phonetics 104. 101323.

2022b. Laura McPherson, Don Daniels, and Caroline Hendy. “Lexical and grammatical tone in Wiru (Southern Highlands Province, PNG).” Proceedings of the 1st Tone and Intonation conference.

2022aDon Daniels & Kelsey Daniels. Managing data for descriptive and historical research. In Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker, Bradley McDonnell, Eve Koller & Lauren Collister (eds.), The open handbook of linguistic data management, 327–334. MIT Press.

2021. Caroline Hendy & Don Daniels. The Wiru noun-modifying clause construction. Oceanic Linguistics 60(1). 72–102.

2020. Grammatical reconstruction: The Sogeram languages of New Guinea. De Gruyter.

2020. The history of tense and aspect in the Sogeram family. Journal of Historical Linguistics 10(2). 167–208.

2019dDon Daniels & Joseph Brooks. The history of *=a: Contact and reconstruction in northeast New Guinea. Journal of Language Contact 12(3). 533–568.

2019cDon Daniels & Greville G. Corbett. Repartitioning. Language 95(4). 711–750.
2019bDon Daniels, Danielle Barth & Wolfgang Barth. Subgrouping the Sogeram languages: Designing datasets to capture diversification. Journal of Historical Linguistics 9(1): 92–127.

2019a. Using phonotactics to reconstruct degrammaticalization: The origin of the Sirva pronoun be. Diachronica 36(1): 1–36.

2017b. A method for mitigating the problem of borrowing in syntactic reconstruction. Studies in Language 41(3): 577–614.

2017a. Gants is a Sogeram language. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia 35: 82–93.

2016. Magi: An undocumented language of Papua New Guinea. Oceanic Linguistics 55(1): 199–224.

2014. Complex coordination in diachrony: Two Sogeram case studies. Diachronica 31(3): 379–406.

2014. Koch, Harold, Robert Mailhammer, Robert Blust, Claire Bowern, Don Daniels, Alexandre François, Simon J. Greenhill, Brian D. Joseph, Lawrence Reid, Malcolm Ross, and Paul Sidwell. Research priorities in historical-comparative linguistics: A view from Asia, Australia and the Pacific. Diachronica 31(2): 267–278.

2010. A preliminary phonological history of the Sogeram languages of Papua New Guinea. Oceanic Linguistics 49(1): 163–193.