Maria Polinsky is a distinguished linguist who received her doctorate in Linguistics from the Institute for Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1986. Throughout her career, she has held teaching positions at prestigious institutions such as the University of Southern California, the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University. Specializing in linguistic theory, Polinsky has made significant contributions to the field, particularly through her extensive work on endangered languages across various locations worldwide.
Currently serving as a professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park, Polinsky’s research interests span several areas. She focuses on syntactic theory, exploring language universals and the wide range of cross-linguistic variation. Additionally, she delves into the study of heritage languages and their implications for linguistic theory.
Polinsky’s research encompasses a diverse array of syntactic topics, including long-distance dependencies, verb phrase structure, ergativity, and verb-initial orders. Her primary fieldwork and comprehensive experiments involve investigating various languages, such as those of the Caucasus, Austronesian languages, and Mayan languages. She also examines the structural properties of language spoken by unbalanced bilinguals, known as heritage languages.