John U. Wolff

Account of career: John U. Wolff

Born:                November 1, 1932, Berlin, Germany

Education:        Public Schools, Miami, Florida

BA, Cornell University 1954 Major Classics

MA, Cornell University 1955, Major General Linguistics

PhD, Yale University 1965, Major Linguistics, Thesis: Cebuano Visayan Syntax


1993 – 1998                 Director, SE Asia Program, Cornell University

2003 – date                 Professor Emeritus, Linguistics and Asian Studies, Cornell University

1963 – 2003                 Professor, Linguistics and Asian Studies, Cornell University.

1961 – 1963                 Research Aide, Instructor, Yale University

1960 summer               Visiting Instructor for Indonesian, Cornell University

National Activities

1976 – 1995      President  of COTI (Consortium for the Teaching of  Indonesian).

Teaching Activities

1976 – 2000      Indonesian FALCON (full-time Indonesian Language Concentration), Cornell University.

1963 – 2003      Courses in Indonesian and Javanese at all levels.

1965 – 2003      Courses in Tagalog and other Philippine Languages.

1963 – 2003      Courses and seminars in linguistics:  introductory, historical, field methods, sociolinguistics, lexicography.

1964 – 2003      Supervision of graduate students in linguistics and PhD theses.

Research Activities (on-going)

1963 – date       Research in historical Austronesian linguistics.

Summer 2009: Paper presentented to the Eleventh International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics  in Aussois, France: “Reconstructing PAn Morphology: comparing Pazih morphology with cognates in languages of the Philippines”



1.  1961.          Cebuano texts with glossary and grammar, 1,000 pp., mimeographed, Cebu   City.

2.  1966-7.       Beginning Cebuano, Parts I and II, 1200 pp.  Yale University Press.

3.       (with Ida Wolff) 1967.             Beginning Waray, 1,000 pp.  Mimeographed, Cebu City,   Philippines.

4.  1972.           Beginning Indonesian, Parts I and II, Southeast Asia Program, 1150 pp.,   Cornell University.

5.  1972.          Cebuano Visayan Dictionary, 1153 pp.  Linguistic Society of the   Philippines,  Monograph No. 3 and Southeast Asian Program, Data Paper No. 84,   Cornell University.

6.   1978.          Indonesian Conversations with glossary and grammar exercises.  468 pp.    Southeast Asian Program, Cornell University.

7.   1978.          Indonesian Conversations with glossary and grammar exercises.  286 pp.    Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University.

8.  1980.          Formal Indonesian with reference grammar glossary and exercises.  466   pp.  Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University.

9.                      (with Soepomo Poedjosoedarmo)     1982.  Javanese Communicative Codes.  SE Asia   Data Papers No. 116, 1982, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

10.                    (with Daniel Fietkiewicz and Dede Oetomo) 1984.  Beginning Indonesian through   Self-instruction.  1,000 pp.  Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University.

11.                    (with Der Hwa Rao and Thess Centeno)   Pilipino through self-instruction.    1,456pp. Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University.1991

12.  1999          with N. Himmelmann: Toratan. Languages of the World/Materials: 130. Newcastle: LINCOM EUROPA,  118 pp.

13. in  2010      Proto-Austronesian Phonology with glossary 1150pp Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University..

Edition of Dictionary

(With J. Collins)          An Indonesian-English Dictionary by John Echols and H. Shadily. Revised 3rd Edition. Cornell University Press


1.      The History of the Camotes dialect and the spread of Cebuano Visayan, Oceanic   Linguistics, 6a.2, 1967.

2.      The historical development of the Samar-Leyte vowel system, Smar Leyte   Studies, 2.1,   1968.

3.      The Classification of Cebuano verbs, Journal of Philippine Linguistics, 1.1, June   1970.

4.      Cebuano Grammar and the teaching of English, Cebu English Teachers   Association Journal, June 1972.

5.      The character of borrowings from Spanish and English in the languages of the   Philippine Journal of Philippine Linguistics, 4.1, June 1973,

6.      Protoaustronesian verbal morphology, Essays Presented to Cecilio Lopez, Manila,   1975.

7.      Protoaustronesian verbal morphology, Essays Presented to Cecilio Lopez, Manila,   1975.

8.                      The ethnology of communication and the teaching of languages, Proceedings of   the First Annual Meeting of the American Council of Teachers of Uncommonly   Taught Languages, Department of Asian and Pacific Languages, University of   Hawaii, 1973.

9.                      Proto-Austronesian *r and *d, Proceedings of the First International   Conference on Comparative Austronesian Linguistics, Oceanic Linguistics XIII,    1975.

10.                    The Function of Indonesian in Central Java, Pacific Linguistics Series C, no. 42,   Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian   National University 1976.

11.                    Verbal Morphology and Verbal Sentences in Proto-Austronesian.  Michigan   Papers   on South and Southeast Asia No. 15.  1976.

12.                    Ueber die Gestaltung der Indonesischen Mundart der Pranakan Chinesen in   Ostjawa, in Gava:  Studies in Austroneisan Linguistics dedicated to Hans Kahler,   Berlin, Ottom Reimer Verlag.  1982.

13.                    Pan *c, *z, *g, and *T in Amran Halim et al. editors.  Papers from the Third   International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, vol. 2:  Tracking the   travelers, 1-30 Pacific Linguistics c-75, 1982.

14.                    The Indonesian Spoken by the Peranakan Chinese of East Java:  A Case of   Language Mixture, in Essays presented to Charles Hockett, Cornell University   Press, 1983.

15.   1987.        “Bloomfield as an Austornesianist” in Robert A. Hall Jr. (ed) Leonard Bloomfield: essays on his life and work. Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science, Series III, Studies int he history of the language sciences. John Benjamins Publishing Company: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

16.  1988.         “The PAN Consonant System”, in D. McGinn, Ed., Studies in Austronesian Linguistics, Monographs on International Studies, SE Asia Series, No. 76. Athens,Ohio: 125-147.

17.  1991.         “The Proto-Austronesian Phoneme *t” in Robert Blust, Editor, Papers Presented to George Grace, Pacific Linguistics 1991: 535-549.

18  1992.          “Dimesnions of the teaching of SE Asian Langauges” in Chales Hirschman, C hales F. Keyes, and Karl Hutterer eds. “Southeast Asian Studies in the Balance. Reflections from America. Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies.

19.  1993a.        “The PAN Phonemes  and*N Oceanic Linguistics,  32.1, pp. 45-61 32.1

20.  1993b.        “Proto-Austronesian Stress” in Jerold A. Edmonsdson and Kenneth J. Gregerson, eds. Tonality in Austronesian Linguistics, Oceanic Linguistics , Special Publications, number 24, pp. 1-15.

21.  1993c.        “Why roots add the affixes with which they occur. A study of Tagalog and Indonesian adjective formations” in  Gerr. P. Reesink (ed.) Topics in Descriptive Austronesian Lingusitics.  Semaian 11. Vakgroup Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden.

22.  1994.         “The place of plant names in  reconstructing Proto Austronesian” in A.K. Pawley and M.D. Ross, eds.  Austronesian Terminologies: continuity and change 511-540 Pacific Linguistics, Series C-127

24. 1996           “The position of the Austronesian Languages of Taiwan within the Austronesian Group” International Synmposium on Austronesian Studies Relating to Taiwan, Academica Sinica, Division of History and Philology, Taipei.

25.1996            “The development of the Indonesian-type verbal conjugation from its Proto-Austronesian origins” In Berndt Nothofer, ed.:Reconstruction, Classification, Description Papers in Honor of Isidore Dyen on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday. Hamburg: Abera Verlag Meyer & Co. KG.

26. 1997.          Review Article: “A Comparative Austronesian Dictionary”, Language 73.1, March 1997, pp. 145-156.

27.  1997.         “The Proto-Austronesian Voiced Apical and Palatal Stops *d and *j” in Cecilia Odé and Wim Stokhoff, eds., Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. Amsterdam/Atlanta: Editions Rodopi B.V., pp. 581-602.

28. To appear: “Language attrition in Ratahan” Proceedings of a conference on language endangerment in SE Asia held in Leiden, Netherlands, December 1966.

29. 1997           “Peranakan Chinese Speech and Identity” Indonesia: 64, October 1997, pp. 29-44.

30.  1999          “The Monosyllabic roots of Proto-Austronesian. Zeitoun, Elizabeth and Li, Paul Jen-kuei editors: Selected Papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. Symposium Series of the Institute of Linguistics Academia Sinica, Number 1, Taipei: May 1999.

31. 2001           “Tagalog borrowings into Spanish”, in Zimmermann, Klaus and Thomas Stolz (eds) Lo propio y lo ajeno en las lenguas austronésicas y amerindias: procesos interculturales en el contacto de lenguas indígenas con el español en el Pacífico e Hispanoamérica. Vervuert: Iberoamericana

32  2005           Sounds of Proto-Austronesian” papers from ICAL 9, in Pacific Linguistics, edited by John Lynch

33. 2005           ”Fijian Reflexes of Proto–Austronesian” papers from COOL V, in Pacific Linguistics edited by John Lynch

34, 2006           “The Philippine languages and the determination of PAn syllable structure.” Papers presented to Laurence Reid.  Manila: SIL

35. 2007           “Do the Malayo-Polynesian Languages Constitute a Subgroup of the Austronesian Language Family?” Studies in hiPlippine Languages and Cultures. 15, pp. 13-24

36. 2007           “Petrified Prefixes in the Austronesian Languages. Studies in Plippine Languages and Cultures. 15, pp. 25-53

37. 2008           “The Reconstruction of the Proto-Austronesian Phoneme *g.” Language and Text in the Austronesian World: Studies in Honour of Ülo Sirk. München:  Lincom Europa, pp. 115-130

38. 2008           The stress of Proto-Austronesian trisyllabic toots. Papers presented to Paul Jen-Kuei Li. Academia Sinica.

39. 2009           The Proto-Austronesian Laryngeal. Papers presented to R. Blust. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics press        The Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala of Fr. Pedro de San Buenaventura, 1613

Computer-assisted instruction

1.                      A complete course in Beginning Indonesian, 3 CD –Roms of interactive multi-media language training materials based on BITSI (item 10, above)