IHC Research Fellow: Ayla Applebaum

IHC Research Fellow: Ayla Applebaum



Ayla Bozkurt Applebaum is an ethnic Kabardian from Turkey. Kabardians are among the Circassian people which, although indigenous to the Northwest Caucasus, live primarily in exile in Turkey and the Middle East due to their expulsion by Czarist Russia in the mid 19th century.

Dr. Bozkurt Applebaum’s research interests include Circassian and Turkic languages, mythology and cultures.

She received a PhD in Linguistics from UCSB in 2013. Her dissertation documented Kabardian phonetics, phonology, prosody and grammar. She also holds an MA in Linguistics from UCSB and an MSc. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Hull in England.

Dr. Applebaum has close association with the Circassian community in Turkey, and has participated in the activities of KAF-FED, the largest Circassian organization in Turkey.

In 2009 Dr. Applebaum helped KAF-FED organize a conference on Circassian languages which brought together linguists and members of the Circassian speaking community. In 2013 she participated in a conference on the standardization of Circassian alphabets in the Diaspora, and has helped KAF-FED to organize a 2nd International conference on Circassian languages, to be held in Ankara in September 2013.

Her work has been supported by several grants. As a graduate student at UCSB, Dr. Applebaum was the Principal Investigator of an Individual Graduate Studentship from the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, for “Documentation and Analysis of Kabardian as Spoken in Turkey.” Prior to the HRELP grant she was a graduate student researcher on NSF grant 0553771 to Prof. Mathew Gordon of UCSB. She is currently PI on a small grant from the Endangered Languages Fund to support documentation of Hatkoy, an endangered Circassian dialect.

Dr. Applebaum has produced seven publications and ten conference presentations documenting phonetics and phonology of Circassian languages as spoken in Turkey, other Diasporic communities and the Caucasian homeland. These include:


Published Papers

 Applebaum, A. B and M. Gordon, (2013). “A comparative phonetic study of the Circassian languages,” Proc. of 37th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: Special Session on Languages of the Caucasus, pp. 3-17.

Gordon, M. and A. B. Applebaum, (2010). “Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Turkish Kabardian,” Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40(1), pp. 35-58.

Gordon, M. and A. B. Applebaum (2010). “Prosodic Fusion and Minimality in Kabardian,” Phonology, 27, pp 45-76

Applebaum, A. B and M. Gordon, (2007). “Intonation in Turkish Kabardian,”

Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS XVI.

Gordon, M. and A. B. Applebaum, (2006). “Phonetic Structures of Turkish Kabardian,” Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36(2), pp. 159-186.


Conference Presentations

 Applebaum, A.B and M. Gordon. (2012) “Typologically unusual features of Circassian languages.” Presented at Typology, Theory and Caucasus, University of Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey, November 2012.

Applebaum, A. B and M. Gordon, (2007). “A Phonetic Comparison of Kabardian Spoken in the Caucasus and Diaspora,” Presented at Conference on the Languages of the Caucasus, Leipzig, Germany, December 2007.