Sasha Simonkenko––who is spending this semester as a visiting student at the Univesity of Tromsø––was just awarded an Arts Graduate Research Travel Grant to conduct fieldwork on three Finno-Ugric languages: Mari, Khanty, and Komi. A note from Sasha:

I’m going to do two rounds of field work on Finno-Ugric languages spoken in Russia for my dissertation. The first round is planned for this December 2011 (around 10 days), which would involve a trip to a village in the republic of Mari El (Russian Federation, about 850km East of Moscow). Mari is a Finno-Ugric language which makes use of a head-marking possessive suffix. Mari uses its possessive suffixes to mark what seems to be definiteness. I’m going to try to find out whether we can talk about a separate D category there by looking at the contexts where it can and cannot be used in its “definite” function, and also at the properties of possessive uses proper. The second round is planned for the summer 2012 (around 30 days) and is hopefully going to be done in a village in the Khanty-Mansi Okrug (2760km East of Moscow) on the Finno-Ugric languages of Khanty and Komi. The behaviour of possessive, plural, and cases suffixes is similar, but also different enough from Mari to make this a promising object for a micro-variation study.

Congrats Sasha, and good luck!