Universiteit Leiden

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Kate Bellamy

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. K.R. Bellamy
+31 71 527 2125

Kate Bellamy is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Linguistics. Her research focuses on P’urhepecha, a language isolate spoken in Michoacán, Mexico. She is particularly interested in its lexical semantics and morphological composition, as well as how it is used – and varies – in language contact situations. From 2023-2026 she is working on the NWO-funded Veni project "Language Variation at home and abroad: the case of P'urhepecha in Mexico and its US diaspora". She also conducts research into code-switching and grammatical gender in multiple language combinations.

More information about Kate Bellamy

Fields of interest

  • P’urhepecha
  • Lexical semantics
  • Code-switching
  • Language contact
  • Language variation and change
  • Dialectology
  • Grammatical gender


My research focuses mainly on P’urhepecha, a language isolate spoken in Michoacán, Mexico. I am interested in how speakers of P’urhepecha talk about different domains, such as smell, texture, or the body, and how they package this information morphologically. In addition, I am interested in what happens to the language when it is in contact with Spanish, for example, and how speakers use both languages in the same sentence or even word (“code-switching”). I also investigate how grammatical gender is incorporated into code-switched utterances, using experimental and naturalistic data from a variety of language pairs.

My current NWO-funded Veni project investigates dialectal/geographic variation in P’urhepecha. By documenting lexical and morpho-syntactic patterns among speakers in Mexico and the US diaspora, I aim to identify the sources of any observed variation or change. It will be accompanied by an open-access dialect atlas which will serve as an online resource for speakers, learners and researchers of the language.

Grants and awards

  • 2023: Newberry Library (Chicago) Short-Term residential Fellowship
  • 2022: NWO Veni project “Language variation at home and abroad: the case of P’urhepecha in Mexico and its US diaspora”
  • 2022: ELDP-MPI Glottobank fieldwork grant
  • 2019: Marie Curie-Skłodowska Individual Fellowship (Europe)
  • 2016: Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship, University of Chicago Libraries Special Collections

Curriculum vitae

2022-present Postdoctoral Researcher, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, NWO Veni project “Language variation at home and abroad: the case of P’urhepecha in Mexico and its US diaspora”
2021-2022 Postdoctoral Researcher, KU Leuven
2019-2021 Postdoctoral Researcher, Langues et civilisations à tradition orale (Lacito), Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Villejuif, Marie Curie Individual Fellowship “Conflicting grammars: Gender among bilinguals in Mesoamerica and the Caucasus”
2017-2019 Research and Teaching Fellow, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
2013-2017 PhD Candidate, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. Part of ERC project “The Linguistic Past of Mesoamerica and the Andes: A search for early migratory relations between North and South America” (supervisor Prof. dr. Willem Adelaar), defended 26/04/2018.
2012-2013 Research Assistant, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
2010-2012 Student Assistant, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
2010-2012 Research MA Linguistics, Leiden University (cum laude)

Key publications

  • Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Kate Bellamy & Felix Ameka. 2023. Theoretical linguistic approaches to multilingual code-switching. In: Jennifer Cabrelli, Adel Chaouch-Orozco, Jorge González Alonso, Sergio M. Pereira Soares, Eloi Puig-Mayenco & Jason Rothman (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Third Language Acquisition and Processing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 403-436.
  • Bellamy, Kate. 2022. The numeral system of P’urhepecha: Historical and typological perspectives. STUF - Language Typology & Universals 75(2): 1-42.
  • Bellamy, Kate & M. Carmen Parafita Couto. 2022. Gender assignment in mixed noun phrases: State of the art. In: Dalila Ayoun (Ed.), The Acquisition of Gender: Crosslinguistic perspectives, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 14-48.
  • Bellamy, Kate. 2021. Let me count the way it stinks: A typology of olfactory terms in Purepecha. In: Łukasz Jedrzejowski & Przemesław Staniewski (Eds.), The Linguistics of Olfaction: Typological and Diachronic Approaches to Synchronic Diversity, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 137-170.
  • Bellamy, Kate & Martha Mendoza. 2021. Body-part terms and morphological complexity in P’urhepecha. Cahiers de lexicologie, 119: 51-71.

Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL postdoc

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 0.25



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