Madeleine Mathiot

Office: 611 Baldy Hall
Phone: (716) 645-0119

Madeleine Mathiot, Professor emeritus, received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Catholic University of America after receiving her M.S. in Linguistics from Georgetown University. Her work is in three areas:

I. The Structure of Conversation

Her study, Talk in Interactive Events: The View from Within, gives an account of the structural elements used by the participants in 12 naturally occurring conversations (see links below). It provides the context within which anyone who is interested can investigate linguistic phenomena, for instance, the syntax of conversation,and aspects of interpersonal dynamics, namely, how the participants utilize the structural elements at their disposal for interactive purpose.


  • Meaning Attribution to Behavior in Face to Face Interaction—A Hermaneutic-Phenomenological Approach. ROLSI, Special Issue: Multichannel Communication Codes, Vo. 20 Part I, edited by Stuart J Sigman, pp271-375, 1986.
  • The Rhythmical Patterning of Talk in Everyday Conversation. L.A.U.D. A.195, 1987.
  • Individual Variation in Participant's Accounts of their own Interaction, to appear in Semiotica, 2013.
  • Jim and Bonnie's Telephone Conversation Revisited: A Semiotic Approach, in preparation.

II. Meaning conveyed through the Linguistic System

(1) Meaning of grammatical categories

  • Noun Classes and Folk Taxonomy in Papago, American Anthropologist, Vol 64, No 2, pp. 340-50, 1962.
  • The Cognitive Significance of the Category of Nominal Number in Papago, in: Studies in Southwestern Ethno-linguistics, edited by Dell Hyme, Mouton & Co, The Hague, pp.197-237, 1967.
  • Sex Roles as Revealed through Referential Gender in American English, in: Ethno-linguistics: Boas, Sapir and Whorf Revisited, edited by Madeleine Mathiot, The Hague: Mouton, pp. 4-49, 1979.

(2) Meaning of lexical items

  • Folk Definitions as a Tool for the Analysis of Lexical Meaning, in: Ethno-linguistics: pp. 121- 260,1979.
  • Semantics of Sensory Perception Terms, in: Language Invariants and Mental Operations, International Interdisciplinary Conference held at Gummersback/Cologne, Germany, September 18-23, 1983, edited by Hansjakob Seiler and Gunter Brettschneider, Gunter Narr Verla Tubingen, pp.135-161, 1985.

(3) Method in Semantic Analysis

  • The Self-Disclosure Technique for Ethnographic Elicitation, in: Semiotics 1980, edited by Michael Herzfeld and Margot Lenhart, Plenum Press, pp.339-346, 1981.
  • On Generalizing in the Case Study Approach, in: Linguistique et Facteurs Socio-Culturels, a special issue of La Linguistique edited by Anne Lefevre and Dalila Morsley, La Linguistique, Vol 26, pp. 129- 151, 1990.

III. The 'O'odham language

(1) Dictionary:

Tohono 'O'odham-English Dictionary, Volume I and Volume II (revised version of A Dictionary of Papago Usage, first published in 1973)

(2) Paper:

The Reminiscenses of Juan Dolores, an Early 'O'odham Linguist, in: Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp.233-316, 1991 (for corrected text, see 'O'odham text page).