Spring 2022 PhD Nathan Loggins

Submitted by Joyce Parvi on
In Zhongdian (Shangri-La City; in Tibetan, Gyelthang) northwest Yunnan province, China (2012)

In June 2022 Nathan Loggins received his PhD in Linguistics, filing his dissertation entitled Ethnic History and Language Typology in Western China: The Cases of Xining, Daohua and Bai.

The goal of Nathan’s dissertation was to trace language development along the lines of social history in three multilingual regions across China’s historical frontier with Tibet:  Amdo on the modern Qinghai-Gansu border, the Kham region of western Sichuan, and Dali in Yunnan.  Focusing on local Sinitic varieties of Amdo (the Xining dialect, but also Wutun and Tangwang), the mixed Han-Tibetan language Daohua of Kham, and the Bai language of Dali, he explored how standard approaches to genetic and typological language classification are not only complicated in settings of fluid ethnic identity and language convergence, but also evade categorical explanation when compared to case studies with ostensibly similar profiles.

Nathan’s interdisciplinary dissertation was supervised by a likewise interdisciplinary committee:  Sharon Hargus (Linguistics, advisor), Zev Handel (Asian Languages and Literature), Steve Harrell (Anthropology), and Matthew Mosca (History, GSR).