John Haiman is currently the director of the Linguistics Program at Macalester.
Haiman has done research on syntactic change in Germanic languages, the grammar of Hua
(Papua New Guinea), iconicity in syntax, the rhaeto-romance languages of Switzerland and
Italy, and Khmer. He is the author of Talk is Cheap: Sarcasm, Alienation and the
Evolution of Language. 

EDUCATION: B.A., University of Toronto; Ph.D., Harvard University. 

John Haiman has been teaching at Macalester since 1989. 

Journal Articles


The creation of new words, Linguistics (2010)


“Nouns, Verbs and Syntactic Backsliding in Khmer.” (with N. Ourn), Studies in Language (2003)


"Coordinate Compounds and Khmer Phrase Structure." (with N. Ourn), Southeast Asian Linguistics Society Papers (2000)


"Symmetrical Compounds in Khmer." (with N. Ourn), Studies in Language (2000)


"Auxiliation in Khmer: The Case of Baan.", Studies in Language (1999)


Cambodian: Khmer (2011)



The Rhaeto-Romance Languages (with P. Benincà) (1992)

Contributions to Books

Six Competing Motivations for Repetition, Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage (2014)

Decorative Morphology in Khmer, The Aesthetics of Grammar: Sound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia (2013)


Competing motivations, Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology (2011)

Iconicity vs. grammaticalization: A case study, The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization (2011)

Iconicity vs. Grammaticalization: A Case Study, Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization (2011)