Carly J. Sommerlot, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow,
National University of Singapore


csommerlot (at) gmail (dot) com


I am a linguist specializing in syntax and morphology through description and documentation of variation in languages of Indonesia. My research focuses on how voice is mapped onto the verbal phrase, where I investigate the role of voice morphology, the status of nominals, and the interaction of voice, tense, and aspect. I have conducted fieldwork on fifteen under- and undescribed languages of Borneo, where I am deeply committed to providing accessible description and documentation. My work combines formal syntactic theory with typological and comparative description based on primary fieldwork.

I am a currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National University of Singapore (under the NUS Syntax/Semantics Lab). I received my Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020.

Areas of interest

Much of my work has focused on providing syntactic description on understudied languages of West Kalimantan. My dissertation provided description of clausal syntax (with a focus on voice and A'-movement) on ten languages (five Malayic and five Land Dayak). I have two upcoming papers that expand upon this; one which discusses voice in Land Dayak languages in-depth, and one which discusses morphosyntactic variation in Kendayan-Salako (Malayic languages of Borneo).

I also have a particular interest in the Malayic nasal prefix (me)N-. I gave an invited talk at the joint ISMIL-ISLOJ on typological perspectives of this prefix, and have proposed that (me)N- should be decomposed into two prefixes. I presented on this at WCCFL, AFLA, and developed this into a paper with Mitcho Erlewine recently.

Languages I work on

  • Desa (archive, handout 1, handout 2, paper)
  • Ahe, Belangin, Bangape, Ope (dissertation)
  • Jakarta Indonesian (slides)
  • Land Dayak:
  • Banyaduq, Bekati', Ribun (dissertation)
  • Beaye, Ba'aje, Mali (archive, paper)
  • Bidayuh Biatah (archive)
  • Kayanic:
  • Uma Nyaving Kayan (archive, paper)
  • Upcoming

  • July 2024: In West Kalimantan :)


  • June 2024: Elected to the ISMIL Steering Committee.

  • June 2024: The nasal prefix and the loss of verbal morphology in Kendayan-Salako languages. Talk at 16-ICAL.

  • June 2024: Organized ISMIL 27 and the first ever ISBL at NUS (and presenting on Land Dayak voice).

  • May 2024: Voice and pronominal forms in Kayan (Uma Nyaving) (with Alex Smith and Mitcho Erlewine). Paper published at JSEALS.

  • March 2024: Voice in Land Dayak languages. Paper accepted with revisions at Oceanic Linguistics.

  • January 2024: The Malayic verbal phase and Cyclic Linearization (with Mitcho Erlewine). Talk at NELS 54 and the LSA Annual Meeting. (handout)

  • September 2023: Voice and extraction in Malayic. Paper under review (with Mitcho Erlewine).

  • September 2023: The position of Mali, Beaye, and Ba'aje in Land Dayak (Austronesian) and what it means for Proto-Land Dayak vowel reconstruction (with Alex Smith). Paper published at JSEALS.
  • Archival collections

  • Languages of West Kalimantan (currently: Desa, Beaye, Ba'aje)
  • Biatah, Bidayuh Elicitation Sessions
  • Uma Nyaving Kayan Elicitation Sessions
  • Teaching

  • Introduction to the Study of Human Languages, University of Texas at Arlington (syllabus)
  • Language in Multicultural USA, UTA (syllabus)
  • Effective Communication for International Teaching Assistants, English Language Institute, UTA (syllabus)
  • ESL Academic Oral Skills, University of Iowa (syllabus)