Researcher and Curator of Linguistics

Close-up shot of linguist Dr. Gabriela Pérez Báez working at a laptop.
Dr. Gabriela Pérez Báez working on a dictionary of Juchitán Zapotec language at her laptop.

Gabriela currently conducts research as a Curator of Linguistics (the study of languages) at the National Museum of Natural History. She grew up in Mexico City and first had a career as a graphic designer. But, she had always been interested in languages and how people communicate through language. She changed careers and went on to complete a masters and a doctorate in linguistics at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Gabriela is especially interested in endangered languages and language documentation. She studies the factors that put a language at risk in order to develop better approaches for sustaining a particular language. Gabriela is currently writing an analytical dictionary of Juchitán Zapotec. As part of this documentation effort, Gabriela is working with botanists in Washington, D.C., and Mexico to study plant terminology in La Ventosa, Oaxaca. Gabriela is deeply interested in exploring the relationships between language and the surrounding environment in this variety of Zapotec. She is also looking at the impacts of migration on the survival prospects of this language- in the community of speakers of San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec and its mirror community in Los Angeles, California.