Kris M Ali

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

Documenting Sign Languages in the Caribbean

Documentation and Description of Bay Islands Sign Language

Documentation of and Curriculum Development in an Indigenous Sign Language in Guyana

(coming soon)

Documentation of and Language Advocacy for Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language

(coming soon)

Caribbean Sign Language Research Hub Online

Queer Languaging Between Deaf and Hearing Interpreters in Trinidad and Tobago

(coming soon)


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

Research Assistantships

Lab Affiliations & Research Groups

Academic Publications

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




(accepted but postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic)

Peer-reviewed Conference Posters

Research Presentations and Invited Talks

Formal Education

Thesis: ‘Bay Islands Sign Language: Socio-historical Background and the Phonology of Name Signs’ 

Supervisor: Dr Ben Braithwaite

Special project: ‘Grammatical Functions of Non-manual Markers in Trinidad & Tobago Sign Language’

Non-degree Programs


Teaching Assistantships

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:

Guest lectures in university courses


Kristian Ali CV-Jan-28.pdf

Contact me


My LinkedIn

 Email me at kristianali[@]ucsb[.]edu 

Mailing Address: 

Kris M Ali

(c/o) Department of Linguistics, 

University of California, Santa Barbara, 93106, CA, USA