I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester. I received my PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. My dissertation, Language Shift and the Speech Community: Sociolinguistic Change in a Garifuna Community in Belize, was advised by Gillian Sankoff, David Embick, and William Labov. Before coming to Rochester, I was an Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire. I am a sociolinguist, and my research focuses on language variation and change in the context of language shift and other social changes. Please see my research page for more information about my projects.

I am currently an Associate Editor at Asia Pacific Language Variation (find us on Twitter here).

I read the The Upgoer Five Challenge, and was inspired to write a description of my research in the 10000 most commonly used words. This is what I do:

I study how people talk, how they think about how they talk, and how the ways that people talk change over time, especially in places where people have more than one way of talking and where some ways of talking are being lost.

Email: maya.r.abtahian@rochester.edu