Martin Lewis and Asya Pereltsvaig on the Origins of Language

About Guest:

Martin Lewis is a Senior Lecturer in International History in the Department of History at Stanford University. He studied at UC-Santa Cruz and UC-Berkeley, receiving his PhD in Geography in 1987. 

His dissertation, and first book, examined the interplay among economic development, environmental degradation, and cultural change in the highlands of northern Luzon in the Philippines. Subsequently, he turned his attention to issues of global geography, writing (with Karen Wigen) The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (University of California Press, 1997). He is also the co-author of a world geography textbook, Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development (Prentice Hall), and is the former associate editor of The Geographical Review.

Martin W. Lewis taught at the George Washington University and then at Duke University, where he was co-director of the program in Comparative Area Studies, before coming to Stanford University in the fall of 2002. He writes on current events and issues of global geography and at

Asya Pereltsvaig is a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics of Stanford University. She received a B.A. in English Linguistics and the Humanities from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from McGill University in 2002. Prior to settling in the Bay Area, she had taught at Yale, Cornell and several other universities in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Her area of specialization is the syntax of Russian and other Slavic languages, but her most recent research project is on Tatar, a Turkic language from the Volga region in Russia. Her general academic interests include languages, history, geography, and the relationship between the three.

Her recent book Languages of the World: An Introduction was published by Cambridge University Press.