About me


Yá’át’ééh! Shí éí Kayla Palakurthy yinishyé. Bilagáana nishłį́ dóó bilagáana báshíshchíín. Bi’éé Daalchíi’ii dashicheii dóó bi’éé daalchíi’ii dashinalí. New Yorkdę́ę́’ naashá ákondi Ahééhíshííhdi shighan. Saad naalkaah dóó Diné bizaad yíníshta’. 

I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I’m primarily interested in language documentation and revitalization, and my research focuses on variation and change, and language contact. I take a discourse-functional approach, whereby I view discourse as a locus for the emergence of grammar, and I investigate cognitive, social, and diachronic explanations for linguistic structure. I work mainly with speakers of Navajo, or Diné bizaad, a Southern Dene/Athabaskan language spoken in the American Southwest. In my current projects, I seek to understand the ways in which speakers adapt and maintain their Diné language at a time of significant sociolinguistic change.

Before graduate school, I taught middle school for four years, and I remain interested in how linguistics and education can be combined. Through the Skills program at UCSB, I taught a semester of linguistics at San Marcos High School, as well as at the Chumash Learning Center in Santa Ynez. I’m also a member of the Navajo Language Academy, a collaborative organization comprised of linguists, Navajo language teachers, and language activists. 

An East Coast transplant to California, I graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with a double major in Linguistics and Russian. Outside of linguistics, I like to run, hike, cook, and spend as much time as possible outside.



Winner of Best Student Abstract for NWAV 47