I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Maryland and Minnesota. I have a BA in Linguistics and Languages (French and Chinese) from Swarthmore College and have also studied at Université Stendhal, Grenoble III. I earned my Ph.D. in linguistics at UCLA, where I sang in Datvebis Gundi, the UCLA Georgian chorus. When not doing linguistics, I write books for children. My hobbies include playing the cello (and, more recently, fiddle), folk dancing, and shape note singing.