Aaron Huey Sonnenschein

Aaron Huey Sonnenschein
College of Natural and Social Sciences
Department of Anthropology
Office KHC 4036



Aaron Huey Sonnenschein has been at CSULA since 2005 and is currently Professor of linguistics in the Anthropology department and affiilate faculty in Latin American Studies. An ardent believer in the possibilities of international education, he supports the work of organizations like the Institute for Field Research(http://ifrglobal.org/) in providing accessible international educational experiences for CSULA students and others. His work primarily revolves around community-driven language revitalization and documentation projects of endangered Oaxacan indigenous languages both in Oaxaca and in Los Angeles. He works with organizations such as the FIOB (Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales: http://fiob.org/) and CEDELIO (Centro de Estudios y Desarrollo de las Lenguas Indígenas de Oaxaca: http://cedelio.ieepo.oaxaca.gob.mx/) in such efforts. Dr. Sonnenschein employs an interdisciplinary approach to the study of language and linguistics which synthesizes approaches from linguistics, anthropology, cognitive science, and other fields to provide comprehensive documentation of this core part of our humanity from both scientific and humanistic perspectives.

In the spring semester of 2018, I, along with students in the Anthropology department at California State University, Los Angeles created LADORES (LAnguage DOcumentation and REvitalization Space) to serve as a virtual space to assist communities with language documentation and revitalization efforts. LADORES creates audiovisual materials for these languages and publishes these materials on various social media. We also plan to release the methodology of the creation of these materials to enable other communities to create similar materials on their own. The first two languages covered by LADORES are Tsome (Highland Chontal) and Mixteco de San Juan Mixtepec. The Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for LADORES can be found at https://www.facebook.com/csula.ladores/https://twitter.com/CsulaLadores, and https://www.instagram.com/csulaladores/ respectively.

Below is an example of an ongoing language revitalization project being worked on with Odilia Romero and the Zoogocho community in Los Angeles.


Having taught everything from Introduction to Higher Education courses to graduate seminars on Literate Mesoamerican Societies, Dr. Sonnenschein enjoys teaching introductory survey courses, courses that provide students with opportunities and training to work in the field and gain research experience, courses which allow students to apply theories and concepts to benefit communities, and courses which investigate the nature of language and its role in shaping our humanity. Nora Torres, a graduate student in the English department, said that a graduate seminar on literacy that she took with Dr. Sonnenschein provided her with “an enriching experience to be able to interact with the community and see our theoretical class discussions come to life."


Language Documentation. Language Revitalization. Community-directed Language Auto-documentation. Indigenous Languages of the Americas. Mesoamerican Languages. Languages of Oaxaca. Zapotecan Languages. Highland Chontal. Language and Cognition. Language and Culture. Language Variation and Change. Linguistic Typology. Language Contact and Lexical Acculturation. Descriptive Linguistics. Community Literacy. Academic Literacy. Critical Literacy. Metaphor Theory. The Language of Food. Ethnohistory. Colonial Grammars and Lexicons. Transnational  and Diasporic Language Communities.


Title Date
"The Chontal Language Family"  In Mesoamerican Languages Handbook (Tentative title). S. Wichmann (ed). Mouton DeGruyter. (Invited chapter)
THE ZAPOTEC LANGUAGE TESTAMENT OF SEBASTIANA DE MENDOZA, C. 1675. EL TESTAMENTO DE SEBASTIANA DE MENDOZA, EN LENGUA ZAPOTECA, C. 1675. (Co-authored with Pamela Munro, Kevin Terraciano, Xóchitl Flores-Marcial, Michael Galant, Brook Danielle Lillehaugen, Maria Ornelas, and Lisa Sousa). Tlalocan. Mexico City:UNAM
Spring 2018
Co-edited with Natalie Operstein. Valence Changes in Zapotec: Synchrony, Diachrony, Typology. Typological Studies in Language 110. Amsterdam/Philadelphia. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Co-edited with Brook Danielle Lillehaugen. Expressing Location in Zapotec. LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 61.  Munich: Lincom Europa.
A Grammar of Zoogocho Zapotec. LINCOM Languages of the World 451. Munich: Lincom Europa.





2004                                 Ph.D., Linguistics, USC

1996                                 M. A., Linguistics, USC

1993                                 B. A. Hons., Linguistics, UC Berkeley