Faculty Profile

Prof. Anvita Abbi
M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Areal typology of South Asian Languages,
Linguistics Convergence, Multilingualism,
Sematics, Grammars of Lesser Known Languages of India

Prof. Abbi is a zealous field linguist, who has researched on languages spanning the whole subcontinent, from the Himalayan languages of the northernmost districts to the southernmost represented by the languages of the Andaman Islands. In the last 30 years, she has worked on every language family of India. An author of sixteen books and approximately 50 articles in various reputed research journals, she is currently engaged in  a mega documentation project entitled ‘Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese’, funded by the HRELP, SOAS, University of London, UK. www.andamanese.net

She was a Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany in 2000 and 2003 and was nominated as a Distinguished Fellow of 2001 by the La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. She has been nominated an honorary member of the Linguistic Society of America for life. She has been nominated as one of the members of the Advisory Board of Terralingua, and advisor to the UNESCO on language issues. She received the Rarashtriya Lokbhasha Samman 2003 for her contribution towards the study and encouragement of the tribal languages of India.

Her research findings on the language isolate Great Andamanese established its status as the sixth language family, distinct from the other tribal languages of the Andaman has been corroborated by the latest genetic research identifying two distinct haplogroups M31 and M32 in the region. Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Prominent recent publications include: (1) Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands. 2006. Lincom Europa GMBH, Germany and (2) A Manual of Linguistic Fieldwork and Structures of Indian Languages. 2001. Lincom Europa, Germany.

Prof. Vaishna Narang
M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest:
General and Applied Linguistics
General and Applied Speech Sciences,
Language-Mind-Brain Studies,
Pedagogical Theory and Practice


Professor Vaishna Narang has spent more than 37 years teaching and guiding research in her areas of special interest which include Applied Linguistics and Language Pedagogy, Neurocognitive Linguistics, Speech and Language disorders due to damage to different parts of brain, disorders of communication, Sign language and Deaf education, Acoustic studies of normal speech production as well as that of dysarthric speech or any motor disorders of speech production. Recently she published a three volume report of a project titled “Mapping Language, Mind and Brain: Studies in Biolinguistics” which also includes a path breaking collaborative research published as “Voices and Genes”, jointly with Prof RNK Bamezai. Through her work she has brought science and humanities closer, teaches courses which go beyond discipline boundaries, which cut across institutional boundaries. Her collaborative work with the neurology departments, geneticists, child language development – special centers for the autistic and the dyslexics, Deaf associations, Braille Council of India, and a number of other centers engaged in speech technology is outstanding since it sets new trends for multidisciplinary, collaborative research as well as application of the same for the benefit of the society.

She has recently been accorded the title of ‘Visiting Professor’ by the University of Essex, which means she will be participating in research and other academic activities of the Department of Language and Linguistics, EU for a period of three years, 2010 -2013.

Details of her publications and her contribution to the marginalized sections of the society (such as the hearing impaired, dyslexics, slow learners, schizophrenics and the cases of speech and language deficit due to neural insult/ injury, visual impairment and Braille for Indian languages; also the language and culture of perhaps the most endangered tribe in India, the Great Andamanese) are available on the website of the University (http://www.jnu.ac.in/Faculty/vnarang)

Prof Narang and Prof Bamezai, a geneticist from the School of Life Sciences in JNU have been instrumental in setting up the Institutional Ethics Review Board for research on human subjects, IERB-JNU in the year 2008, of which  she is the Member- Secretary. (http://www.jnu.ac.in/IERB/index.html).



Prof. Pramod Pandey
M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Linguistics, Phonology, Semantics

Pramod Kumar Pandey is Professor at the Centre for Linguistics, and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, an M.Litt. in English, an M.A. in Linguistics and an M.A. in English. He has been engaged in teaching and research for the past 29 years.

He was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency Fellowship, Bellagio, Italy, 2003, and Guest Scientist, Department of Linguistics, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, 2003, in the Fifth Plan period.

His professional activities include: Member, Editorial Committee, Indian Linguistics, 2006-08; Member, Committee on Publications in Linguistics, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, 2006-08. He has served on the Advisory Committees of U. G. C. and MHRD on some universities in the past.

His research interests include Phonetics and Phonology, Morphology, Linguistic Theory, English Language Teaching, Writing systems, and Research Methodology.

Prominent forthcoming publications include books with the proposed title “Sounds and their Patterns in Indic Languages”. [Based on a U. G. C. Major Research Project entitled, `Phonological Database of Indian Languages’, M. S. University of Baroda, 1998-2000. The book contains phonological sketches of 133 languages of India, with bibliography and generalizations. Expected length: 500 pages.].


Prof. Franson D. Manjali
M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Ethics, Aesthetics and Linguistics
Semiotics of Narrative
Philosophies of Discourse
Poetics and Politics of Language
Metaphors in Language and Culture
Philosophy of Image

Franson Manjali has been teaching in the university since October 1989. Prior to that he taught for a year at the University of Delhi (1986-87) and did post-doctoral research at the University of Paris-4, Sorbonne, Paris (1987-89). He was awarded a Ph.D. in Linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1986. Since 1987 his research and teaching have consistently focused on theoretical issues in linguistics and related field of study. During the early years of his career at JNU, the emphasis was on Semantics, Semiotics and Cognitive Linguistics. His research monograph, Nuclear Semantics – Towards a Theory of Relational Meaning (1991) was published during this period. However, since 1999 after a one and a half year stint as a Research Fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, his research and teaching have veered towards broadly philosophical and narrowly post-structural approaches to language, literature and culture. His monograph, Literature and Infinity (IIAS, Shimla) attests to this intellectual shift. His more recent publication, Language, Discourse and Culture – Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives (Anthem Press, New Delhi, 2007) involves a more mature treatment of questions of ethics and aesthetics in relation to language. 


Ayesha Kidwai
M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Generative Syntax & Semantics, Philosophy of Language, Morphology

Dr. Ayesha Kidwai's (Professor) research interests include linguistic theory, with particular reference to the (generative) syntax and morphology of Indian languages, philosophy of language, gender and language, the politics of English, and language evolution. After completing her PhD in 1995 from Jawaharlal Nehru University on scrambling and binding in Hindi-Urdu, she has worked on diverse morphological and syntactic phenomena in languages of all the four-language family of India, as well as Indian Sign Language. Her current research interests include the syntax of finite complementation and the properties of adjunction in natural language. Under her supervision, students of the Centre have worked on descriptive grammars of lesser-known languages, explored aspects of the syntax and semantics of the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian language families, and investigated the interaction of gender with linguistic behavior.


P K Das
Pradeep Kumar Das
M.A., Ph.D. (JNU)

Research Interest:
Language Typology, Structure of lesser known Languages, Morphology, Historical Linguistics, Field-linguistics
pkdas@mail.jnu.ac.in       pradeep11@hotmail.com

Prof. Das has taught more than 12 courses of linguistics in the Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi from 2000 to 2013. He has also been teaching field-methods course and conducting field-work during the abovementioned period. He has supervised some 16 MPhil and 5 PhD students and about ten students (i.e. 5 MPhil and 5 PhD) are still registered and pursuing their research work under his supervision in the Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi.

His book on 'Grammatical Agreement in Hindi-Urdu and its major varieties', published from Lincom Europa, Germany, is seen as repository for the structural dependencies and the analysis of agreement facts of some fifteen varieties of Hindi-Urdu. His Bhojpuri grammar book is due in October, 2013 from Lincom Europa, Germany.  

He has guided some 326 M. A. field-methods dissertations in Delhi University. He has also signed an agreement with the Lincom Europa, Germany to bring out an edited book on 'Typology of lesser known languages in India: an outcome of field-linguistics'. This edited book will be a compilation of the field-works done by students under his guidance and the students will be considered the actual contributors to this work. 

He has published some eight research articles on various issues in morpho-syntax and language pedagogy, especially teaching Hindi/English as a foreign language. His paper on 'Form and function of Conjunct Verb in Hindi'(2009) has solved the puzzling structure of agreement in Hindi that was reported by Balh (1974).

His research findings on 'Ergativity' in Indian languages has been appreciated and acknowledged by Prof. Itziar Laka, a Basque expert and MIT graduate.

He has joined the Centre for Linguistics in April, 2013 and he is going to teach various courses of his interests and expertise from the upcoming Monsoon semester 2013.


Hari Madhab Ray
Assistant Professor

Research Interest:
General Linguistics, Morphology, Phonology

Hari Madhab Ray (Assistant Professor) has completed his M.A. in Linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2006. He has been involved in teaching for the last one year. His research interest includes General Linguistics, Morphology and Phonology.


Contact Office

Mr. S. Rawat or Mr. Naveen
Centre for Linguistics
School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies

Phone: 011-26704199

Visiting Professors

Utpal Lahiri

Visiting Professor, Centre for Linguistics and JNIAS Fellow 
B.Tech., M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interest: 
Formal Semantics and Pragmatics, Syntactic Theory, Mathematical Linguistics, Syntax-semantics Interface, Semantics-Pragmatics Interface, Logic, Philosophy of Language, Cognitive Science, Syntax and semantics of South Asian languages, Romance languages and Germanic, Phonetics and Phonology of South Asian languages.

Language areas of interest: Romance (Spanish, Italian), Indic (Hindi, Bangla, Sanskrit), Germanic (English), Modern Greek

Dr. Utpal Lahiri's research interests include linguistic theory, with a specialization in semantic theory and its interfaces with syntax and pragmatics, as well as neighboring areas of interest including the philosophy of language and logic, theoretical problems of the languages of the South Asian linguistic area, as well as the syntax and semantics of Romance and Germanic. Dr. Lahiri received an M.A. in Linguistics at Syracuse University and then a PhD. in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis entitled On Embedded Interrogatives and Predicates that Embed Them, on the semantics of interrogative clauses, particularly addressing the question of how interrogative subordinate clauses are interpreted when they appear as complements of different classes of predicates, with data drawn mainly from English and some material from Spanish. Dr. Lahiri has taught and conducted research at various institutions in the USA and Europe, including the University of California at Irvine and the University of the Basque Country (Spain). He has also held visiting positions at MIT and the University of Southern California as Visiting Professor and the University of Connecticut at Storrs as Visiting Lecturer.

Dr. Lahiri has co-edited two books, and is also the author of the book Questions and Answers in Embedded Contexts published by the Oxford University Press (Oxford). He has also authored a number of widely cited articles in journals and edited books on a variety of topics, including a seminal paper on polarity; the semantics and pragmatics of scalar particles, as well as the semantics of scope marking (interrogative) construction; with linguistic material drawn from Hindi, English, as well as Spanish. His latest work involves studies of polarity, negative concord, and the syntax/semantics/pragmatics of scalar particles in Spanish and Modern Greek as well issues in the syntax-semantics interface raised by certain puzzling binding phenomena with polarity items in Hindi.

  • Prof. Veneeta Dayal, Rutgers University, NJ, USA
  • Prof. Hans Heinrich Hock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA