Janis B. Nuckolls

Professor, Quechua Instructor, Linguistics

4055 JFSB


Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: , , ,

Teaching Experience

My teaching philosophy can be summed up nicely by something attributed to Guy Davenport: “Ignorance achieves wonders”. This resonates for me because I believe that valuable learning happens when we are willing to humble ourselves and realize how little we really know about something. Once we are willing to confront language as a mystery, then genuine knowledge is looked for and often found.


My research has been concerned, broadly, with language in all of its complexity, whether that is found in sounds, meanings, or gestures. I have conducted most of my research on sound symbolism, with a particular focus on ideophones, which are imitative expressions. I have also researched evidentiality in Pastaza Quichua/Kichwa, and am most recently attempting to understand language and gesture interrelations.


I find citizenship most fulfilling when it in some ways helps our students. A high point for me was designing a General Education Course, LING 110, Introduction to Human Language, which has now been taught many times over the past 10 years, and has possibly ignited more serious interest in the scientific and humanistic study of language. I also enjoy being the director of the Ecuador Linguistics Study Abroad Program, which has been able to take place in alternate years, since 2011.

Citizenship assignments

College of Humanities Rank and Status Committee 2012-2015
College of Humanities Dean’s Search Committee 2014
Kennedy Center Search committee for new Director 2015
Department of Linguistics BA Coordinator
Department of Linguistics Rank and Status Document