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Outstanding Dissertation Awards for 2020

Congratulations to the following students who have received outstanding dissertation awards for 2020:

Ivan Bondoc is the recipient of the 2020 Dr. Clifford Mirikitani, M.D., J.D. & John M. Mirikitani, J.D., Ph.D. Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Sharon Bulalang-Estioca won the LLL Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research Award given by the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature in April 2020. Her dissertation, ‘A Grammar of Western Subanon” is a comprehensive description of the grammar of  this language, her mother tongue and an endangered Austronesian language spoken in the southern Philippines.

In addition to this award, she also received another Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Founder Region Fellowship, of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA). This award is very competitive, and is given to highly motivated women pursuing their PhD program in the Unites States, and are engaged in academic research in fields including science, technology, education, the environment, women’s issues and international relations.

PhD student Katherine Strong selected as an Early Career Plenary Speaker at 12th Annual Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics (APLL) Conference

Congratulations to Katherine Strong (PhD Student) as her talk ‘Sociophonetic variation in the South Fly: Evidence from Ende’ (co-authored by Kate Lindsey) was selected for one of two Early Career Plenary Speakers at the 12th annual Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics (APLL) conference to be held in Oslo, June 2020.

Jejueo: The Language of Korea’s Jeju Island

The University of Hawaii Press has just published Jejueo: The Language of Korea’s Jeju Island, co-authored by Changyong Yang (adjunct professor), Sejung Yang (PhD graduate, 2018) and William O’Grady (professor of linguistics). This long-awaited book tells the story of a language that has gone unrecognized for too long and is now in grave peril. Once the island’s primary variety of speech, Jejueo currently has only a few thousand fluent speakers and has been classified by UNESCO as critically endangered.

The book, which is the first comprehensive treatment of Jejueo in English, offers both an introduction to the language and an in-depth survey of its grammar, supplemented with hundreds of examples. The authors present  a provocative new picture of linguistic diversity in East Asia, undermining the centuries-old belief that Korea is home to a single language and making the case for a new language policy in that nation.


On Tuesday, August 13, the Supreme Court of Hawai’i ruled that the state constitution guarantees access to Hawaiian immersion education in order to “recognize and preserve the Hawaiian culture … and to revive the Hawaiian language, which is essential to the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.” The case was argued by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (Sharla Manley, lead attorney) on behalf of a family that was denied access to a Hawaiian Immersion program on the island of Lanai; William O’Grady served as an expert witness. The majority opinion of the Court can be found here.


Another alumni update! Jonny Kim (PhD 2018) has accepted a tenure track position as Assistant Professor in phonetics and phonology at the Department of English Language and Literature at Pusan (Busan) National University, Busan, South Korea.  Jonny will begin his position in early September 2019.

Jonny’s dissertation for his PhD studies at UH Manoa is now available online: Socially-conditioned links between words and phonetic realizations.

Congrats, Jonny!