Bio


I taught in the Department of Linguistics from 1972 to 2006 and still teach the occasional course.

My main research interests are in African languages and linguistic tone and intonation.

A second edition of Lyovin's Introduction to the Languages of the World, recently completed with Brett Kessler, came out from Oxford University Press in January, 2017. Currently I'm working on a book on language in advertising, based on my spring 2016-17 Stanford course.

After many years of consulting for Lexicon Branding, Inc., I'm now chair emeritus of Lexicon's linguistics program.

Academic Appointments


  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Linguistics

Honors & Awards


  • Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Ivoirien, République de Côte d'Ivoire (2014)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Current projects: collaborating with Larry M. Hyman on an overview of tone systems and working on a book on language in advertising, based on my Stanford course.

2017-18 Courses


All Publications


  • The phonetics of downstep in Abron and Adioukrou. Revealing structure edited by Buckley, E., Crane, T., Good, J. CSLI Publications. 2017
  • The Nature(s) of Downstep SLAO/1er Colloque International Leben, W. R. Humboldt Kolleg. 2016
  • Autosegments The Blackwell companion to phonology. Leben, W. R. Blackwell. 2011
  • Phonological reflexes of emphasis in Kwa languages of Cote d'Ivoire West African Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Russell G. Schuh, Leben, W. R. Studies in African Linguistics. 2006