Texas Tech University

Jeffrey Payne Williams, PhD

Professor of Ethnology & Linguistics
Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work

Email: jeffrey.p.williams@ttu.edu

joined the university in 2006 as Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work.  Prior to coming to TTU, I'd held appointments at the University of Sydney, Vanderbilt University, and Cleveland State University, where I had served as department chair for ten years.  I transitioned to the Office of the Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences where I served as Associate Dean of Finance and later as Interim Dean.  I currently enjoy holding a purely faculty appointment where I can teach, engage in research, and pursue service to the disciplines of anthropology and linguistics as well to the larger, allied constituents.  

My fieldwork has been in several countries, mostly in the West Indies and in Papua New Guinea.  I've worked with the descendants of early European colonization in the West Indies since the early 1980s and published articles and book chapters on the sociolinguistic history of Euro-West Indian English -- a set of ko√≠neized varieties that developed out of early identity formation among indentured servants and others who were transported to the region in the middle of the seventeenth century.

In Papua New Guinea, I worked in the upper Sepik River basin near the confluence of the Karawari and Arafundi Rivers.  I have documented the indigenous trade languages of that area, and still have more documentation to complete.  I have also been interested in the Arafundian languages -- a small grouping within the larger conglomerate of Papuan languages spoken on the island.  More recently I have been engaged in research on the 'aesthetic properties of grammar' that are frequently manifested in alliterative reduplication, echo word morphology, expressives, and other such exponents.  I edited a book entitled The Aesthetics of Grammar:  Sound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia that appeared in 2013 with Cambridge. 

Finally, I have been one of four co-editors of two volumes published by Cambridge University Press on the lesser-known varieties of English.  The first volume appeared in 2010 and the second volume appeared in April of 2015.  My first edited book (lead editor was Michael Aceto) was on contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean (Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean, John Benjamins, 2003).  I am writing a book on the sociolinguistic history of English in the West Indies for Cambridge University Press and also editing a collection on expressives in the languages of South Asia for Routledge.  Both should be due out in 2018.

Caves at Headwaters of Arafundi River    grammar

Photo Description

Contact Information

My office is in Room 278A in Holden Hall.  278A is one of a suite of offices inside the doorway labeled 278.

My mailing address is: 
Jeffrey P. Williams
Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work
Texas Tech University
Box 41012
2500 Broadway Avenue
Lubbock, TX  79409-1012


Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work