Featured Linguists


Jason Rothman

I have always loved language. I wanted to be a linguist before I really knew what linguistics was. Like many, I originally thought that being a linguist meant a perpetual life of learning language after language. So dedicated was I to that romantic notion as a teenager that I forged parental consent at the age of 17 to get a tattoo on my inner right ankle. Supposedly it said “linguistics” in Mandarin characters. I have since found out that what is actually there is, well, close enough! It is a good thing that becoming a linguist has worked out, since tattoos are permanent. In many ways, I was utterly naïve about what a linguist studies. Of course, there are many types of linguists and many complimentary questions related to language worthy of scientific investigation. But, in hindsight, I was not really aware then of even the essential elements that transcend paradigms and, we would agree (I hope) make us linguists. I suppose the path that brought me in my youth to dedicate myself to linguistics is not terribly different from many: A deep fascination with language coupled with a nerdy desire to understand the dynamic, essential characteristic of this mundane property that defines us as humans, yet is mostly taken for granted.

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Ghil‘ad Zuckermann

I was born in Tel Aviv and grew up Eilat, the southernmost city of Israel. My father was an Italian Jew who survived the Second World War in Italy and then arrived in Israel as a teenager in 1945. My own first memory is being rushed to the shelter during the Yom Kippur War (October 1973). As a child growing up in Eilat I experienced ‘Othering’ (defining oneself vis-à-vis the other) every day, looking at the spectacular, albeit inaccessible, unreachable, mountains of Aqaba, Jordan.

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