Cynthia Hansen began teaching in the Linguistics Concentration at Grinnell in January 2012. Her research focuses on the documentation and linguistic description of Iquito, a highly endangered language of the Peruvian Amazon. She teaches the core courses within the Linguistics Concentration (Introduction to General Linguistics, Syntax, Phonetics and Phonology, and the Seminar in Linguistics) as well as an anthropology course on language contact.
Professor Hansen graduated with a BA in Linguistics from Dartmouth College. From there, she worked as an Associate Speech Science Engineer at SpeechWorks (now Nuance) in Boston, MA, contributing to their international speech recognition projects. After three years with that company, she moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico to work with a local NGO. She returned to the US to pursue graduate study in linguistics at The University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s Degree in 2006 and her PhD in 2011.
Her research on Iquito examines an unusual word order alternation that occurs between the realis and irrealis mood. She is also a contributing member of the Iquito Language Documentation Project and has written about various aspects of Iquito syntax and morphology.