Two English professors win Keal Fellowship


Two professors in the Department of English have been awarded the 2021-2022 Josephine Nevins Keal Faculty Fellowship, which funds a semester of research leave.  Ljiljana Progovac, Professor of English, won the Keal for a project entitled “Evolution of Grammar, Insult, and Self-Domestication in Humans.” In Winter 2022, Professor Progovac will use this research support to continue her pioneering work in the field of language evolution, which involves using a Darwinist approach to challenge Noam Chomsky’s influential theory of how language evolved in primitive times. Peter Staroverov, Assistant Professor of English, was awarded the Keal for his ongoing research on “Perception of Aspiration by Speakers of Indo-Aryan Languages.” Professor Staroverov’s project focuses on the subjects of foreign language learning and language revitalization. In Fall 2021, he will investigate the ways that errors in pronunciation and mishearing can impact the process of learning a foreign language as well as the potential for revitalizing languages that are close to extinction.

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