Lal Zimman (FAQ)

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Department of Linguistics
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97202

Welcome to my website! I am a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Reed College. I also recently became General Editor of Oxford University Press' Studies in Language and Gender Series, following series founder Mary Bucholtz's tenure in that role. I received my PhD in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2012, where I was affiliated with the programs in Culture, Language and Social Practice (CLASP) and Women's and Gender Studies.

My research pursuits are situated in the interdisciplinary field of sociocultural linguistics and deal broadly with the relationship between language, gender, and embodiment – broadly construed – in transgender and LGBQ communities (see my research page for more). My dissertation research consisted of a two year ethnographic and sociophonetic study of the changes that take place in the voices of transgender men and others on the female-to-male identity spectrum as they begin masculinizing hormone therapy (i.e. testosterone). As a complement to its sociophonetic component, the study also integrates analysis of metalinguistic discourse and language ideologies, as well as meta-analysis of extant research on trans voices, to situate speakers' vocal changes in both local and broader socio-political contexts. Currently I am working to expand this research to consider issues like the perception of gender based on the voice, stylistic variability in the gendered voice, and the sociophonetic intersections of gender, race, and other social positionalities.

Download my full CV as a PDF (last updated October, 2013).


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Frequently Asked Questio basns about my name:
How do you pronounce Lal?
Phonemically, my pronunciation of Lal is just like it's spelled: /lal/, though other [+back] [+low] vowels are also fine to my ear. No front vowels, please. In less technical terms, it shouldn't rhyme with Hal or pal - it should sound more like Paul or fall.

Is that short for anything?
Nope, that's it.

So what kind of name is Lal?
It comes from Sanskrit and can be glossed as 'to play / to caress'. It also means 'red' in Hindi, though the latter meaning is not what my parents – hippies, if there was any doubt – had in mind when naming me. Other, perhaps better known, Lals include the second Prime Minister to India, Lal Bahadur, Data's android daughter in a memorable episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a few others.

What about your last name?
Much less interesting, but sometimes exotified in pronunciation (presumably because of my first name). It's actually just like Zimmerman, but without the 'er'.