Joel Dunham

Joel Dunham
Position: Ph.D. candidate

Mailing Address:
UBC Department of Linguistics
2613 West Mall

Vancouver, British Columbia
V6T 1Z4

Thesis Title

The Online Linguistic Database: Software for linguistic fieldwork.


I am primarily interested in the development of software that facilitates linguistic fieldwork broadly construed, i.e., documentation, description, research, and revitalization. To this end I have developed two open source tools: the Online Linguistic Database v. 0.2 (OLD, GitHub repo) and the OLD v. 1.0, a rewrite of the OLD 0.2 as a RESTful HTTP/JSON web service.

There are currently nine language-specific OLD 0.2 web applications in existence, with those for the following languages seeing the most use.

As part of my work on the OLD 1.0, I have worked on implementing automatic morphological parsers for Blackfoot (and other languages to come) using the open source Foma FST library and MIT Language Modeling (MITLM) toolkit.

I have also worked on the semantics of aspect in Blackfoot and Okanagan and on noun incorporation in Blackfoot, have been an editor for UBCWPL for the past five years, and have recently begun contributing to LingSync (GitHub), an open source fieldwork tool similar to the OLD.


Dunham, Joel. 2013. The Blackfoot Language Database. In K. S. Hele and J. R. Valentine (Eds.), Papers of the Forty-First Algonquian Conference, Concordia, Montreal, 2009, pp. 75-80.

Dunham, Joel. 2009. Noun Incorporation in Blackfoot. Ph.D. qualifying paper 2, Department of Linguistics, UBC.

Dunham, Joel. 2009. I qwlhí7censa sHenry: Henry’s shoes. In L. Matthewson, C. Christodoulou, J. Lyon & M. A. Oberg (eds.), Wenácw Iz’: Sqwéqwel’s sLaura. True Stories by Laura Thevarge, UBCWPL 22, pp. 31-35. Audio.

Dunham, Joel. 2008. A unified analysis of the habitual and in-progress readings of á in Blackfoot. Ph.D. qualifying paper 1, Department of Linguistics, UBC.

Dunham, Joel. 2007. The 'durative' in Blackfoot: understanding imperfectivity. In A.R. Deal (Ed.), SULA 4: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on the Semantics of Under-represented Languages in the Americas, Amherst: GLSA, pp. 49-64.


"Tutorial on LingSync (slides)." Presentation at Exploring the Interfaces 3: Prosody and constituent structure, McGill University, May 8-10, 2014.

"Online Linguistic Database." Presentation at NWLC 2013: The 29th Northwest Linguistics Conference, the University of British Columbia, April 26-27, 2013.

"Imperfective, Nominalization (& Irrealis) in Okanagan." Paper presented at SULA 6, University of Manchester, May 5-7, 2011.

"Unifying habituality and progressivity in the imperfective: a Blackfoot case study." Presentation at CHRONOS 8——International Conference on Tense, Aspect, Mood, and Modality, the University of Texas at Austin, October 2–5, 2008.

"Noun incorporation in Blackfoot." Paper presented at the 40th Algonquian Conference, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Minneapolis, October 24-26, 2008. [M. Barrie & J. Dunham]


Summer Institute, Linguistic Society of America, Boulder, CO, 2011. Courses in treebanking, statistical syntactic parsing, inference-based semantics, and computational lexical semantics.

B.A., University of British Columbia, 2006. Major in philosophy, minor in linguistics.

Full curriculum vitae (CV)

Why_LingSync_final.pdf3.38 MB