Hi, I'm Kristy Ali, a linguist.
I am a PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the department of linguistics at University of California Santa Barbara.
My research interests are broadly Caribbean languages, language documentation and description, social and linguistic justice for Caribbean people, decolonial theory, sociocultural linguistics and sign language linguistics. I use collaborative and community-based research methods, I am interested in indigenous research methodologies and I follow the Caribbean tradition of liberatory linguistics in which I was trained during my first two degrees at the University of the West Indies.
I was born, raised, educated and socialized in Trinidad and Tobago. I am a proud Caribbeanist.
I am a trained Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language - English interpreter. On campus or off, you can find me involved in student and community organizing, particularly for minoritized communities.
I use she/her pronouns.
Racial Equity and Parity for Deaf Global South Researchers in Sign Language Research
Publication forthcoming in the edited Oxford University Press volume, Inclusion in Linguistics
Presentation given with Lina Hou at the international 14th Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (TISLR14) in Osaka, Japan Sept 26 -- Oct 1 2022
Documenting Sign Languages in the Caribbean
Documentation and Description of Bay Islands Sign Language
My MPhil thesis is the longest academic work on BISL. It is entitled "The Sociohistorical Background of Bay Islands Sign Language and Phonology of Name Signs"
I gave a presentation at the 14th High Dessert Linguistics Society Conference (HDLS14) in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the Phonology of Name Signs in 2019
I worked heavily on the online archive which is now available at ELAR
With Ben Braithwaite, I published a sociolinguistic sketch published in Emerging Sign Languages of the Americas in 2018
I was invited to present my MPhil work at the Sign Pop-Up event at Radboud University in Njimegen in 2018
I co-presented a poster on how production and perception works in BISL at TISLR13 in Hamburg, Germany in 2018
I co-presented at the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2018 for which I received an National Science Foundation award
I was part of the team of the language documentation project funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Project in 2018
My first trip was in 2016 and my most recent trip was in 2022
Documentation of and Curriculum Development in an Indigenous Sign Language in Guyana
Documentation of and Language Advocacy for Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language
Queer Languaging Between Deaf and Hearing Interpreters in Trinidad and Tobago
Bay Islands, Honduras: Bay Islands Sign Language; Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language, Trinidad French Creole; Cayman Islands: Old Caymanian Sign Language; Guyana: Falmouth Sign Language, Guyanese Sign Language
Nov 2021 – June 2022 Graduate Research Assistant to Dr Lina Hou, Assistant Professor in Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nov 2019 – on hold due to Covid-19 Research Assistant in Falmouth Sign Language Documentation Project, Ministry of Education Guyana and UNICEF Guyana
Nov 2019 – Sept 2020 Research Assistant to Rehana Omardeen, PhD student in Linguistics at University of Göttingen
2018 – 2020 Research Assistant in Documenting language across modalities: visual and tactile sign language in the Bay Islands - Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Small Grant project
Aug 2016 – 2019 Research Assistant to Dr Ben Braithwaite, lecturer in Linguistics at University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus
Lab Affiliations & Research Groups
1. Ali, Kristian and Lina Hou. (in press) “Critically Examining Parity and Equity for Deaf, BIPOC, Global South Researchers in Sign Language Linguistics.” In Mary Bucholtz, Anne Charity-Hudley, Christine Mallinson (eds), Inclusion in Linguistics. Oxford University Press.
2. Braithwaite, Ben and Kristian Ali. (in press) “The Colonial Geography of Linguistics”. In Mary Bucholtz, Anne Charity-Hudley, Christine Mallinson (eds), Decolonising Linguistics. Oxford University Press.
3. Ali, Fahimah, Kristian Ali and Ben Braithwaite. (2022) “Intra-linguistic and cross-linguistic variation in the turn-taking organization between deaf-blind signers: new evidence from Bay Islands Sign Language” Penn Working Papers in Linguistics volume 28.2 (Selected paper from NWAV49)
4. Ali, Kristian, Ben Braithwaite, Ryan Durgasingh, Samantha Jackson & Nicha Selvon-Ramkissoon. (2022). “Endonormative approaches to language research design in the Caribbean”. In Camille Nakhid, Anabel Santana, Shakeisha Wilson and Margaret Chatoor (eds), Culturally Affirming Research and Education in the Caribbean. Routledge.
5. Ali, Kristian, Ben Braithwaite, Ian Dhanoolal & Kristin Snoddon (2021) Sign language-medium education in the global South, Deafness & Education International, 23:3, 169-178, DOI: 10.1080/14643154.2021.1952507
6. Ali, Kristian and Ben Braithwaite (2020) “Bay Islands Sign Language: A Sociolinguistic Sketch.” In Olivier Le Guen, Josefina Safar and Marie Coppola (eds), Emerging Sign Languages of the Americas. pp 435-438. De Gruyter Mouton & Ishara Press.
One of the storybooks in Trinidad & Tobago Sign Language I translated and filmed with Deaf Interpreter, Ian Dhanoolal. The first of their kind in TTSL
During Fieldwork in Guyana as part of UNICEF & Ministry of Education Language Documentation Project
HDLS14 (University of New Mexico) presentation on Bay Islands Sign Language in American Sign Language and spoken English with English captions
Presentations, Posters and Invited Talks
Peer-reviewed Conference Presentations
with Lina Hou. Where are the deaf BIPOC Global South researchers? Examining parity and inclusion in the field of sign language linguistics. Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 14 (TISLR14). National Museum of Ethnology. Osaka, Japan. Sept. 26 – Oct 1. 2022.
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. Documenting Field Research in a Small Rural Community. Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 14 (TISLR14). National Museum of Ethnology. Osaka, Japan. Sept. 26 – Oct 1. 2022.
with Ian Dhanoolal, Ben Braithwaite and Johannah-Rae Reyes. Documenting an (I)indigenous Sign Language in Guyana. Presentation at the 24th Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL24). University of California, Santa Barbara. April 8 - 9. 2022.
with Fahimah Ali and Ben Braithwaite. Intra-linguistic and cross-linguistic variation in the turn-taking organization between deaf-blind signers: new evidence from Bay Islands Sign Language. Presentation at 49th New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV49). The University of Texas at Austin. October 19 - 24. 2021. https://youtu.be/44Eg2acgGTI
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. Sign language rights for all? A multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of language use and representation by the Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired. Stylistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, and Language Use in the Caribbean. 2021 April 2 – 3. University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad.
-- Complex dynamics in relationships in sign language documentation. Panel presentation. 7th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation. 2021 March 4 – 7. University of Hawai’i, Manoa.
A socio-historical description of Bay Islands Sign Language - another puzzle piece in the diversity of signing communities. High Desert Linguistics Society 14th biennial conference. 2020 Nov 20 – 22. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://youtu.be/MQMlHsfsGS4
(accepted but postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic)
with Ben Braithwaite. Where minds and bodies meet: towards a cross-modal typology of phonology. 23rd Biennial Society for Caribbean Linguistics Conference. University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. Documenting an (I)indigenous sign language in Guyana. 23rd Biennial Society for Caribbean Linguistics Conference. University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. Changing Caribbean Deaf communities, changing sign languages, and why we need new local research. SIGN10. Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2017
with Ben Braithwaite. Collaborative Research into Language in Visual and Tactile Modalities. Presented at Department of Behavioural Sciences Postgraduate Research Conference. 2017 Mar 22-23; University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
with Ben Braithwaite. Documenting language in visual and tactile modalities. Presented at the 5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation. 2017 Mar 2-5; University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
Peer-reviewed Conference Posters
with Ben Braithwaite. Production and Perception in a shared tactile sign language. Poster presented at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research. 2019 Sept 23 – 26; Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
The use of classifiers by Deaf people in Trinidad and Tobago. Poster presented at the 21st Biennial Society for Caribbean Linguistics Conference; 2016 Aug 1-6; Mona, Jamaica.
Research Presentations and Invited Talks
“Sign language documentation and description in the Caribbean: Challenges, opportunities and implications for human rights.” Presented at Language and Social Justice in the Caribbean. The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. 2021 April 21.
with Ben Braithwaite. “Liming Methodology in Research with Caribbean Deaf Signing Communities”. Caribbean Research Methodologies (CRM) Online Seminar. 2020 Oct 16.
“The Phonology of Name Signs in Bay Islands Sign Language”. Invited talk at Sign Pop Up 2019. Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2019 Sept 9.
with Ben Braithwaite, Ian Dhanoolal and Kimone Elvin. “Sign languages and social inclusion of deaf people in the Bay Islands.” Presentation at Roatan Culture House, French Harbour, Roatan, Honduras. 2018 Sept 13.
with Felicia Bisnath. “Th-stopping in the speech of Kamla Persad-Bissessar”. Presented at Linguistics Research Day. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. 2015 Nov 15.
Fall 2021 – present PhD Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara
2019 – 2021 MPhil Linguistics, The University of the West Indies
Thesis: ‘Bay Islands Sign Language: Socio-historical Background and the Phonology of Name Signs’
Supervisor: Dr Ben Braithwaite
I was awarded the Postgraduate Scholarship in my second year which allowed me to stop working full-time
2014 – 2019 BA Linguistics, The University of the West Indies
Special project: ‘Grammatical Functions of Non-manual Markers in Trinidad & Tobago Sign Language’
May 2017 SIGN-HUB LABEX Summer school in sign language linguistics, Gargnano, Italy
I was awarded a full merit-based accommodation and food bursary
I was a Tutor or Teaching Assistant for the following classes in which I prepared and taught 50-minute lessons, graded assignments and exams, held office hours and provided mentorship to students:
LING 20 Introduction to Language and Linguistics, UC Santa Barbara, Winter quarter 2023
LING 50 Language and Power, UC Santa Barbara, Fall quarter 2022
LING 1002 Introduction to Morphology and Syntax, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, 2019 – 2020 (Semester 1 and Summer semesters)
LING 1001 Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, 2018 Summer
Guest lectures in university courses
“Sign Languages of the World”. Guest lecture in UCSB LING 70 Languages of the World. Winter 2023.
“Sign Languages”. Guest lecture in UCSB LING 20 Introduction to Languages and Linguistics. Winter 2023.
“A Brief Introduction to Sign Language Linguistics”. Guest lecture in UCSB LING 20. Winter 2022.
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. “Caribbean Sign Languages and Signing Communities.” Guest lecture in Introduction to International Development with Deaf People and People with Disabilities: Language & Inequality at Gallaudet University, Washington, USA. 2021 April.
“Deaf-blind languages and communities” Guest lecture in LING2204 Deaf Language and Culture at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. 2021 March.
with Ben Braithwaite and Ian Dhanoolal. “Caribbean Sign Languages: Research and Advocacy.” Guest lecture in Linguistics Field Methods at Gallaudet University, Washington, USA. 2020 Nov 11.