Maria Polinsky received her doctorate in Linguistics in 1986. She has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of California, San Diego and Harvard University. She specializes in linguistic theory and has done extensive work on endangered languages in different locations around the world.


  • PhD
    Linguistics, Institute for Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Maria's research is situated at the intersection of theoretical syntax and cross-linguistic variation in sentence structure, with a focus on long-distance dependencies, control and raising constructions, and ergativity. In theoretical syntax, Maria’s work spans a wide array of languages including Austronesian and Mayan languages, as well as languages of the Caucasus. She is a pioneer in bringing both the tools and the research questions of lab-based psycholinguistics to speakers of under-studied languages.

Dr. Maria Polinsky
0121 Taliaferro Hall
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
polinsky [at]