Professor Paul Newman received his B.A. (Philosophy) and M.A. (Anthropology) from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. (Linguistics) from UCLA. His dissertation, which was based on extensive fieldwork in northern Nigeria, was a grammar of Tera, a previously undescribed Chadic language. Newman also has a law degree (J.D., summa cum laude) from Indiana University and is a member of the Indiana Bar.
He has held academic positions at Yale University; Abdullahi Bayero College (now Bayero University Kano), Nigeria; University of Leiden, The Netherlands; and the University of Michigan, where he was Senior Copyright Specialist for the library system. His major appointment, for some twenty-five years, was at Indiana University, which included six years as Chair of department. At Indiana he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Linguistics. He is also Adjunct Professor of Law and a member of the Center for Intellectual Property Research.
Newman was the founding editor of the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, now in its 33rd year, and a charter member of the board of Language Documentation & Conservation, an innovative online journal. He has also served on the editorial board of Language, Current Anthropology, Studies in African Linguistics, and Anthropological Linguistics.
Throughout his career, Newman has been the recipient of numerous honors, most notably being named Distinguished Professor at Indiana University in 2002. Other honors include Personal Chair in African Linguistics, University of Leiden; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford; Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Linguistic Typology, Australian National University; Visiting Professor, Indiana-Hamburg Exchange Program; Plenary Speaker, First International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation, University of Hawaii; Visiting Professor, University of Bayreuth; and Fulbright Specialist in Law, University of Haifa.
He is a life member of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), in which he has served on the Endangered Languages Committee and the Social and Political Issues Committee. He worked for a number of years as pro bono Special Counsel to the Society, dealing primarily with copyright questions and with legal and policy issues related to online publication, in appreciation of which he was honored with the Linguistic Service Award (2012).
He has published nineteen books (written or edited) and over a hundred articles, book reviews, and ethnomusicological works. The following is a selected list:
Modern Hausa-English Dictionary [with Roxana Ma Newman] (1977); Nominal and Verbal Plurality in Chadic (1990); On Being Right: Greenberg's African Linguistic Classification and the Methodological Principles which Underlie It (1995); The Hausa Language: An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar (2000); Linguistic Fieldwork [with Martha Ratliff] (2001); Chadic and Hausa Linguistics: Selected Papers of Paul Newman, ed. by Philip J. Jaggar and H. Ekkehard Wolff (2002); Klingenheben's Law in Hausa (2004); A Hausa-English Dictionary (2007); Online Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics (2012).
"Comparative Chadic: Phonology and lexicon" [with Roxana Ma], Journal of African Languages 5 (1966); "Band music of Grayson and Carroll Counties, Va." [with Eric Davidson], Folkways Records (1967); "Music from the villages of Northeastern Nigeria" [with Eric Davidson et al.] Asch Records (1971); "Syllable weight as a phonological variable," Studies in African Linguistics 3 (1972); "Chadic classification and reconstructions," Afroasiatic Linguistics 5 (1977); "An interview with Joseph Greenberg," Current Anthropology 32 (1991); "Fieldwork and field methods in linguistics," California Linguistic Notes 23 (1992), reprinted in LD&C 3 (2009); "The endangered languages issue as a hopeless cause," in Language Death and Language Maintenance, ed. by Mark Janse and Sijmen Tol (2003); "An interview with Paul Newman" [with Alan Kaye] Semiotica 166 (2007); "Review of Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics, ed. by M. Coulthard and A. Johnson," International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 18 (2011); "Copyright and other legal concerns," in The Handbook of Linguistic Fieldwork, ed. by Nicholas Thieberger (2012); "Pluractional verbs: An overview," in Verbal Plurality and Distributivity, ed. by Patricia Cabredo Hofherr and Brenda Laca (2012).