Gary Holton

Professor of Linguistics and Graduate Chair
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Office Hours (by appointment)

Tuesdays 1:30-3:00 pm
Wednesdays 9:00-12:00 am
Thursdays 1:30-3:00 pm
Please schedule appointments on Google Calendar.

As a documentary linguist my work focuses on the documentation, description and maintenance of Indigenous languages and knowledge systems, including especially the non-Austronesian (Papuan) languages of eastern Indonesia and the Dene languages of Alaska. Most of these languages have been marginalized as a result of the ongoing forces of globalization, and their systematic documentation can enhance language vitality and linguistic diversity, while also contributing to an understanding of the way human languages are structured.

Much of my work is interdisciplinary in nature, addressing the way knowledge systems are encoded in (and influenced by) language. This includes especially the linguistic encoding of spatial relations but also other types of knowledge systems such as astronomy, botany, and mathematics. Coursework in this area includes Language, Landscape, and Space (LING 640G) and a Seminar in Biocultural Diversity (IS 750), co-taught with colleagues in the Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific. See the research section for a description of ongoing projects.

For the past two decades I have also been actively involved in the development of Infrastructure and best practices for the field of documentary linguistics, through efforts including the Open Language Archives Community and the Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archiving Network. Current projects in this area include the NSF-funded project, Developing Tools for Metadata Editing and Collection Management and the IMLS-funded Kaipumakani Project.



Hōʻoia ʻĀina — Land Acknowledgement

I acknowledge Hawaiʻi as an Indigenous space whose original people are today identified as Native Hawaiians. Situated on lands which were ceded under duress, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa strives to be a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning, committed to the values of aloha ‘āina. As a settler who is privileged to live and work on these lands, I seek to support the varied strategies that the Indigenous peoples of Hawai‘i are using to protect their land and their communities, and I am committed to dedicating time and resources to working in solidarity. More information about the University’s efforts to acknowledge and respond to Aloha ‘Āina can be found at the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office.