Shobhana Chelliah

Shobhana Chelliah

Distinguished Research Professor Emerita


  • University of Texas at Austin. Ph.D. in Linguistics. Dissertation title: A Study of Manipuri Grammar. Committee chair: Dr. Anthony C. Woodbury, 1984-1992
  • University of Delhi, Department of Linguistics. M.A. in Linguistics. Thesis title: Case Morphemes and Their Functions in the Case System of Manipuri. Supervisor: Dr. K.V. Subbarao, 1982-1984
  • St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi. B.A. in English Literature with papers in Philosophy, Indian History and Hindi, 1979-1982

Research Interests

As a documentary linguist, my days are agreeably filled with collecting, archiving, and analyzing language data in interaction with native speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages of northeast India. Along with my students, I am currently working on creating a lexical database and grammatical sketch to contribute to revitalization efforts of the Lamkang language of Manipur.   From 2012-2015, I served as the Program Director for the Documenting Endangered Languages program at the National Science Foundation.  My publications include The Grammar of Meithei (Mouton 1997) and the Handbook of Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork (co-authored with Willem de Reuse, Springer 2010).  Along with John Peterson, I am the series editor for Brill’s Studies in South and Southwest Asian Languages.  I am an Associate Editor of the journal Himalayan Linguistics and am on the Editorial Board of the journal Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics.  My long term goals are to create a digital comparative resource for South Asian languages that will be useful for linguistic inquiry and language pedagogy.