Prof. Michael Dunn
Department of Linguistics and Philology
Uppsala University
Box 635,
75126 Uppsala
  1. +46 18 4711341
  5. ORCID

I am an evolutionary linguist, with a background in language description, linguistic typology, and phylogenetics. My current research focus is on the evolutionary processes acting within language and between language and culture.

This research programme spans the the evolutionary history of languages, the evolutionary dependencies between different aspects of language, and the cultural factors which shape the evolution of language.

I have a long term research interest in linguistic isolates: the Papuan languages of Melanesia and the Paleosiberian languages of the Russian Arctic, but―because of my interest in reconstructing evolutionary processes―now spend more time thinking about language families, especially Austronesian, Indo-European, Aslian/Austroasiatic and Uralic.

I am currently thinking about non-treelike evolutionary processes (evolutionary networks)

  • The Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has awarded me a Mixed Methods grant (2019-2023) for the project Cultural Evolution of Texts. This project is developing quantitative methods for investigating the history and transmission of different kinds of textual tradition. The project currently has four active parts:
    • Methods group
    • Apophthegmata subproject
    • Zoroastrian Liturgy subproject
    • Runestaves subproject
  • Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Science Council, has funded the project 1000 Years of Language Contact on Gotland. In this project I am working with Caspar Jordan (doctoral student, Uppsala) and Erik Petzell (Institutet för Språk och Folkminnen). We are interested in the history of Gutnish, a sister language to Swedish and Danish spoken on the island of Gotland, as well as the Gotland variety of Swedish, and their relationships to all the other languages spoken on Gotland over the centuries.
  • I am also a member of the Retracing connections Project, working in particular with Christian Høgel to investigate the manuscript histories of a collection of Byzantine Hagiographies.

Other affiliations and roles

PhD students

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