MacArthur Fellows Program

Dennis A. Moore

Anthropological Linguist | Class of 1999

Anthropological Linguist
Belem-Para, Brazil
54 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1999

About Dennis' Work

Dennis Moore is an anthropological linguist working to preserve the language and culture of endangered, indigenous groups in Brazil. 

Moore is a scholar who integrates linguistics with other anthropological fields, including archaeology, ethnobiology, and social anthropology.  Using strategies that engage both native speakers and the larger public, he leads the effort to document and preserve well over a hundred endangered languages in Brazil.  Of the 180 languages spoken in Brazil, only ten percent have accurate, published grammars; Moore has been working to publish Gavião and bring this grammar up to date.  He has also recruited and trained Brazilian students in linguistics, a process that is enriching that field in a country otherwise depleted of linguistic scientists.  He is currently setting up a long-term effort to document Amazonian languages through the preservation of samples of audio and video recordings. 


Moore has been the coordinator of the Linguistics Division of the Department of Human Sciences at the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Brazil since 1988.  His work has appeared in several publications, including the International Journal of American Linguistics.

Moore received a B.A. (1966) from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. (1984) from the City University of New York.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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