Project member Jeffrey Heath

Jeff is Prof. of Linguistics, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and is a veteran of more than 14 years of on-location fieldwork. He began with Australian Aboriginal languages of eastern Arnhem Land (1970's), then did various topical projects on Jewish and Muslim dialects of Maghrebi Arabic (1980's). Since 1989 he has made annual trips to Mali where he has worked in succession on Hassaniya Arabic, riverine Songhay languages (Koyra Chiini, Koyraboro Senni), montane Songhay languages (Tondi Songway Kiini, Humburi Senni), and Tamashek (Berber family). Since 2005 he has focused on Dogon languages: Jamsay, Ben Tey, Bankan Tey, Bunoge, Najamba, Nanga, Penange, Tebul Ure, Tiranige, Yanda Dom, Donno So, and Dogul Dom. During his 2011-12 fieldwork stint he has also been shooting and producing low-budget videos of cultural events and everyday practical activities, some of which can be viewed on the project website. He has also been mapping Dogon villages in collaboration with the LLMAP project at Eastern Michigan University, and has continued to work on local flora-fauna and native terms thereof. He is the author of A Grammar of Jamsay (Mouton, 2008), but his more recent Dogon grammars are currently disseminated on the project website or published in the open-access Language Description Heritage Library and permanently archived at Deep Blue at the University of Michigan. In Burkina, Jeff is working on Tiefo (Gur) in collaboration with others, and on Jalkunan (Mande).