I grew up in Arizona, a descendant of the World War II Latvian refugee community in the United States, and am a native speaker of Latvian and English. Languages have fascinated me my entire life and I’ve studied over 30, including Navajo, Sanskrit, and Livonian. I hold a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and wrote my dissertation on the Yuki language of Mendocino County, California. A revised version of my dissertation, a grammar of Yuki and description of the closely related Huchnom and Coast Yuki languages, was published in 2016 as part of the University of California Publications in Linguistics series and can be read in full, here and here.

In the years following the completion of my Ph.D., I was affiliated with the University of Helsinki and studied the historically South Estonian-speaking Lutsi community of eastern Latvia (for more information, see my website on the Lutsis). Between 2013 and 2016 my work was funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Kone Foundation in Finland. I also have a life-long interest in the Finnic Livonian people of Latvia (for more information, see my website on the Livonians). During the summer of 2017, I will be continuing my documentation of the Lutsi community thanks to a grant from the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (click here to read about this project).

In addition to my work as a linguist, I also work as a literary translator and editor. In my work as a translator, I’m affiliated with LatvianLiterature.lv and primarily translate from Latvian into English. I enjoy translating a wide variety of literary genres, both fiction and non-fiction, including literature for adults as well as books written for young people. I’ve translated mysteries, children’s stories, and scientific articles, and am interested in trying my hand at poetry translation in the near future. As an editor, my work has primarily focused on language editing and I’ve worked with the Finno-Ugrian Society in Helsinki, the University of Helsinki, the University of Tartu, the University of Latvia, and others in this capacity.

(Photo credit: Caleb Roehrig)

(Photo in banner image: Sunset at Kuunsi Point, Ruhnu Island, Estonia, © 2017 Uldis Balodis)