Neda Taherkhani

Neda Taherkhani Profile Picture
IGP:
Linguistics

Mentor / Lab:
Prof. Elena Benedicto, Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab

Specific Research Area / Project:
The syntactic structure of motion predicates in Tati as a 'definitely endangered' language of Iran.


Lab / Personal work-related websites:
Lab Webpage

Personal Webpage

Research Profile:

Neda Taherkhani is a Ph.D. candidate of Linguistics at Purdue University, working at the Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab on Tati language under the supervision of Prof. Elena Benedicto. Tati has been categorized by UNESCO as a definitely endangered Indo-European language in Iran. Taherkhani is a bilingual speaker of Tati and Persian, and she has acquired these languages at a very early age.

Taherkhani’s Ph.D. dissertation is mainly focused on the syntactic structure of motion predicates in Tati, with an emphasis on the Takestani (Siadiniji) dialect of Tati spoken in the city of Takestan (Siaden). The dissertation includes four main sections, including (a) agentivity in Tati motion predicates, (b) Path of motion, (c) telicity, and (d) resultative. Data for this research was gathered from three participants who are native speakers of Tati. Her dissertation will be a detailed and valuable work in describing and analyzing Tati as a traditional and undescribed endangered language of the world.

Taherkhani has also written one of her preliminary papers on A Morpho-phonological Analysis of Vowel Changes in Verb Conjugations in Tati Including Deletion, Assimilation, and Vowel Harmony, and she has presented her research at linguistics conferences such as NACIL1, CONCALL3, and PLLS 2018. Taherkhani has been awarded the LSA fellowship for attending COLANG 2018 summer school, Purdue’s yearly PRF grant for writing her dissertation, four Lynn fellowships, and two PROMISE awards. Neda is also a Persian language instructor at the International Center and at the School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue, teaching different levels of Persian language proficiency on a voluntary basis. Taherkhani has also been the officer of cultural affairs at the Iranian Cultural Club at Purdue (ICC) for two years.


About Me:

Neda Taherkhani About Me Picture

As a native speaker of Tati, a minority and endangered language of Iran, and as a bilingual individual with Persian as a second native language, Taherkhani has been always interested in linguistic diversity and cross-linguistic contrasts. Taherkhani was always looking for ways to be active in language-related activities from childhood.

Taherkhani believes that working at the Indigenous and Endanger Languages lab at Purdue with Prof. Benedicto has provided her with a great opportunity to be trained as a linguist of her own language. Working with peer workers (Pin His Chen and Kwaku Osei Tutu) who are working on the same topic (motion predicates) on their own languages (Mandarin and Ghanaian Student Pidgin) has been also very helpful to her in comparing the structure of her language with those languages. Although these languages are genetically unrelated, they still share many common properties in terms of motion predicates.

Taherkhani’s ultimate goal as a linguist is (a) to produce a theoretically relevant analysis of Tati that is applicable to linguistic theory, (b) to document Tati with the best quantity and quality she can (c) to transfer her knowledge about linguistics and language documentation to her language community, and (d) to help her language community appreciate the value of their language, culture, and identity in order to transfer them to their next generations.

Publications:

  • Chen, P., Osei-TuTu, K., Taherkhani, N. (2018). The Syntactic Structure of Telicity in Tati, Mandarin, And GSP. 2018 PLLS proceedings. (Under Review).

Presentations:

  • Taherkhani, N. (2018, April). Linguistics for Everyone: An Easy-to-Follow Representation of Motion Predicates in Tati. Presented at OIGP Spring reception, Purdue University.
  • Taherkhani, N. (2018, February). Initial and Continuous contact in Tati Agentive Motion Evens. Ling Talk at Purdue University.
  • Taherkhani, N. (2018, March). Panel organizer and presenter. The Syntactic Structure of Motion Predicates in Tati, Mandarin, and Ghanaian Student Pidgin. Presented at Purdue Linguistics, Literature, and Second-language Studies Conference (PLSS 2018).
  • Taherkhani, N. (2018, March). Agentivity in Tati Motion Predicates. Oral presentation. Third Conference on the Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (CONCALL-3) in Indiana University Bloomington.
  • Taherkhani, N. (2018, January). Vowel Changes in Tati Verb Conjugations. Ling Talk at Purdue University.
  • Taherkhani, N. (2017, January). A Morpho-phonological Analysis of Vowel Changes in Tati Verb Conjugations: Deletion, Assimilation, and Vowel Harmony. Poster presented at The first North American Conference on Iranian Linguistics (NACIL1), Stony Brook, New York.

Awards:

  • LSA fellowship for COLANG 2018 attendance
  • Certificate of Excellence in Research Award for 2018 from the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Spring Reception at Purdue University | May 2018
  • Purdue yearly PRF grant for writing dissertation (2018-2019)
  • Prude PROMISE award for doing language documentation in Iran | Summer 2016.
  • Purdue PROMISE award for presenting at NACIL1 conference | April 2017.
  • Purdue LYNN fellowship for outstanding Ph.D. students, Summer 2017.
  • Purdue LYNN fellowship for outstanding Ph.D. students, Summer 2016.
  • Purdue LYNN fellowship for outstanding Ph.D. students, Summer 2015.
  • Purdue LYNN fellowship for outstanding Ph.D. students, Academic year 2014-2015

Leadership:

  • Linguistics Society of America (LSA) | Academic years 2015-2016 and 2017-2018.
  • Purdue Linguistics Association (PLA) | 2014 to present.
  • Officer of cultural affairs | Iranian Cultural Club at Purdue University (ICC) | Academic year 2015-2016.
  • Officer of cultural affairs | Iranian Cultural Club at Purdue University (ICC) | Academic year 2017-2018.

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