Linguistic Anthropology Research Lab

The Linguistic Anthropology Research Lab (LARL) works on a range of topics that are at the forefront of linguistic anthropological research. Research conducted focuses primarily on understanding linguistic complexity and diversity, language maintenance and reclamation, and creation, management, and transformation of identities through talk and language. Below are some of the main thematic areas of research and focus at LARL.

Interested M.A. or Ph.D. students wanting to pursue linguistic anthropological research at University of Nevada, Reno should contact Dr. Sandhya Krittika Narayanan at

Language contact and social approaches to linguistic complexity

Language contact is a central aspect of human societies, shaping the ways that languages and linguistic varieties are spoken, and influencing the nature of intersubjective relationships and interactions between populations and communities. The primary focus of LARL is to understand and further push the boundaries of theorizing the linguistic and social outcomes of language contact. Dr. Narayanan’s research centers around understanding language change and the maintenance of linguistic complexity and multilingualism and situating these linguistic practices in relation to the formation and recognition of racio-gendered subjects, especially those pertaining to Indigenous, minority, and diasporic populations.

Language endangerment and revitalization

No investigation into language contact and language change can occur without attention towards the ideologies and structures of inequality that result in the delegitimization of linguistic varieties, and their speakers. One of LARL’s ongoing areas of focus is to ethnographically situate processes of language shift and endangerment, alongside practices and movements around language revitalization and reclamation. In addition to working with communities on community-centered and lead projects around linguistic and cultural reclamation, work on language endangerment and revitalization focuses on the social aspects of these processes to push and generate new ways about thinking about the nature of language, and its place in shaping human social histories and interaction.

Language, gender and sexuality

Language and talk are central to understanding the emergence of gendered differences and the generation and maintenance of gendered identities and sexualities. Dr. Narayanan’s work focuses on the ethnographic grounding of language and gender, with a specific focus on cross-cultural comparisons on the relationship between talk, language use, and constitution of gendered figures of personhood. Dr. Narayanan’s ongoing work also attends to these processes in relation to Indigenous and minority populations, incorporating these perspectives in pushing current theorizations on gender differences and gendered language.