My interest in the structure and historical development of Spanish and of other Romance languages began while I was an undergraduate student studying Spanish at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and later at Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio). I earned a B.A. in 1974 from the latter after having participated in an exchange program with the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, my first study-abroad experience and one that served to encourage further study in Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), where I received an M.A. in Spanish Linguistics in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics in 1981. While at Indiana University I participated in a graduate-student program of study at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain (1975-1976). It was at Indiana University that I first began the study of the Catalan language with the eminent linguist Josep Roca-Pons. My doctoral work and dissertation were directed by Dr. Roca-Pons with invaluable input and orientation provided by Dr. Joseph Gulsoy (University of Toronto). I subsequently lived, conducted research, and studied at the Universitat de Barcelona in Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain, in 1978-1979. I returned to Indiana University for the completion of my Ph.D., which I received in 1981 upon presentation and defense of my doctoral dissertation "Preliterary Catalan Historical Phonology."
Upon Dr. Roca-Pons' retirement from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1981, I replaced him as Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish and Catalan during 1981-1982. From 1982 to 1984 I held the position of Assistant Professor of Spanish Language and Linguistics at the University of New Hampshire, Durham; and in 1984 I joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as Assistant Professor of Spanish, where I was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 and to Professor in 1994.
My research has focused upon numerous areas of Hispano-Romance linguistics and philology, including the phonological development of the Catalan language during its earliest period; the edition and linguistic analysis of medieval documents written fully or partially in Catalan; linguistic variation and dialectal development in Catalan; the history, linguistic and cultural heritage of the Minorcan islanders who settled in British East Florida (New Smyrna and St. Augustine) in the latter half of the 18th century; and the etymological origin and development of Catalan toponyms. In the 1990s I was invited to collaborate with the distinguished linguist Joan Coromines in the preparation and writing of the eight-volume Onomasticon Cataloniae, an etymological dictionary of place names from the entire Catalan-speaking linguistic territory.
To date I have published seven single-authored books in addition to having co-authored or co-edited four additional volumes and over 250 articles that have appeared in professional journals and volumes. My most recent book is El català antic (Girona: Universitat de Girona / CCG Edicions, 2006). Among other areas my current research involves the retranscription, edition and linguistic analysis of Professor Joan Coromines' unedited field notes for his Diccionari Etimològic i Complementari de la Llengua Catalana, 10 vols. (1980-2001) and Onomasticon Cataloniae: Els Noms de Lloc i Noms de Persona de Totes les Terres de Llengua Catalana, 8 vols. (1989-1997), with a special focus upon the linguistic surveys conducted in the Rosselló (Roussillon) area (1959-1960) of Northern Catalonia (Catalunya Nord), which comprises the greater part of the modern French Département des Pyrénées Orientales.
I am currently a corresponding member of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, the official academy of the Catalan language, as well as a corresponding member of the Institut Menorquí d'Estudis and of the Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona. I was a founding member of the North American Catalan Society (1978) as well as its past president (2001-2003); and since 1979 I have been a member and vice-president (2006-2009) of the Associació Internacional de Llengua i Literatura Catalanes.
At Vanderbilt University I teach classes in Spanish linguistics (Phonology, Morphology and Syntax, History of the Spanish Language; Ibero-Romance Philology [Graduate Seminar]) as well as in Catalan language. I also serve as a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of Sister Cities of Nashville, a civic organization that represents the Mayor's Office of Nashville in the area of international contacts. I led efforts to establish the sister-city relationship between Nashville and Mendoza, Argentina, which resulted in the latter becoming Nashville's sixth official international partner in March of 2009.