|Welcome to my website! I am currently an
Instructor in the Department
of Linguistics at Stanford University following the
recent defense of my dissertation in Department
at the University of Colorado, where I was also
affiliated with the programs in Culture,
and Social Practice (CLASP) and Women's
and Gender Studies. This fall, I will join the Department
of Linguistics at Reed College as a Visiting Assistant
My research pursuits are situated in the interdisciplinary
field of sociocultural
linguistics and deal broadly with the relationship
between language, gender, and embodiment in transgender and
LGBQ communities (see my
research page for more). My dissertation research
consisted of a two year ethnographic and sociophonetic study
of the changes that take place in the voices of transgender
men and others on the female-to-male identity spectrum as
they begin masculinizing hormone therapy. As a complement to
its sociophonetic component, the study also integrates
analysis of metalinguistic discourse and language
ideologies, as well as meta-analysis of extant research on
trans voices, to situate speakers' vocal changes in broader
socio-political context. Currently I am working to expand
this research to consider issues like the perception of
gender based on the voice, stylistic variability in the
gendered voice, and the sociophonetic intersections of
gender, race, and other social positionalities.
Download my full CV as a PDF (last
updated March, 2013).
Frequently Asked Questions
about my name:
How do you pronounce Lal?
Phonemically, my pronunciation of Lal is just like it's
spelled: /lal/, though other [+back] [+low] vowels are
also fine to my ear. No front vowels, please. In less
technical terms, it shouldn't rhyme with Hal or pal - it
should sound more like Paul or fall.
Is that short for anything?
Nope, that's it.
So what kind of name is Lal?
It comes from Sanskrit, meaning 'to play or caress'. It
also means 'red' in Hindi, though the latter meaning is
not what my parents had in mind when naming me. Other,
perhaps better known, Lals include the second Prime
Minister to India, Lal
Bahadur, Data's android daughter in a
memorable episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation,
What about your last name?
Much less interesting, but sometimes exotified in
pronunciation (presumably because of my first name). It's
actually just like Zimmerman, but without the 'er'.