Lal Zimman (FAQ)
[lɑɫ ˈzimn̩]

zimman at linguistics dot ucsb dot edu

Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Affiliated Faculty in Feminist Studies
South Hall 3518
University of California, Santa Barbara
Lal Zimman

Hello! I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara. I'm also General Editor of Oxford University Press's Studies in Language, Gender, and Sexuality Series. 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. Since then, I have also worked in the Linguistics Departments at Reed College and Stanford University.

My research pursuits are situated in the interdisciplinary field of sociocultural linguistics and are focused around two areas: 1) language, gender, and sexuality, and 2) sociophonetics and (increasingly) its interface with discourse. I also have a community-driven research agenda that focuses on the relationship between language, identity, and embodiment in transgender (and queer) communities. I approach this research from several directions. One concerns the discursive construction of biological sex, which highlights the culturally contingent process of assigning a sex to particular kinds of bodies. Another arm of my work uses this socially-grounded perspective on embodiment to explore the gendered characteristics of the voice, which are often assumed to arise from speakers' position in a biologically-determined sex binary. My research on trans voices aims to explore the complex and mutually reinforcing relationship between social subjectivity in ways that account for a fuller range of gendered identities while also illuminating our understanding of more normative gender. Most recently, I have been working on challenges that arise in the study of gender and the voice, particularly with respect to the role of discourse stance in driving the use of vocal pitch and voice quality.

Check out my research page for more about my current projects.

Download my CV as a PDF (last updated November, 2017).


Upcoming events:

Frequently Asked Questions about my name:
How do you pronounce Lal?
Phonemically, my pronunciation of Lal is just like it's spelled: /lɑl/ though other backish/lowish 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 hall or Paul.

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 Sanskrit is the language 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 (she got to pick her own gender!), 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 just like Zimmerman without the 'er'.