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About Edward J. Vajda

Edward Vajda is a professor in Western Washington University's Department of Modern and Classical Languages. He received his degrees from Indiana University and the University of Washington, and has also studied at Moscow State University. He has been on Western's faculty since 1987. He teaches Russian language, culture and history, as well as general linguistics and Inner Asian and Siberian peoples. He is currently serving as director of the Center for East Asian Studies and also as the Associate Director of the Center for International Studies. He also serves as an editor of the New York-based linguistics journal "Word" . Fluent in several languages, he has authored six books, dozens of articles and hundreds of reviews (see his CV for more information). Dr. Vajda is interested in documenting endangered languages of Siberia and has conducted original fieldwork with Ket, a language spoken by fewer than 100 people in the remote Yenisei River basin. In August 2008 he became the first North American to live and work with the Ket in their Sub-Arctic homeland. He is affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany), where in August 2006 he presented evidence supporting a genetic connection between Ket and the Athabaskan, Eyak, and Tlingit (Na-Dene) language family of North America. In February 2008 he presented more evidence at a symposium in Fairbanks, Alaska. The "Dene-Yeniseian Hypothesis" is gaining acceptance as the first demonstrated link between an Old World and a New World language family. Vajda received Western's Excellence in Teaching Award in 1992.


Present Faculty Member, Western Washington University Center for East Asian Studies
Present Director of Linguistics, Western Washington University
Present Professor of Russian & Linguistics, Western Washington University Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Curriculum Vitae

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Contact Information

Office: Miller Hall 217D


Books (6)

Contributions to Books (9)

Presentations (1)

Articles (20)