Masako Ueda Fidler
Professor of Slavic Languages
Phone: +1 401 863 3933
Phone 2: +1 401 863 2689
Professor Fidler's areas of expertise include comparative linguistics (especially dealing with Czech, Russian and Japanese), discourse analysis, and cognitive linguistics.
I was born in Tokyo, Japan. My parents are both professors of linguistics and English. Their specialization does not sound very unusual in the current political climate, but it was quite an accomplishment when they were young. Both of them studied English at a time when the language had been completely wiped out from the school curriculum during the Second World War. My mother was told that she would never get married by her relatives because she, a woman, wanted to go to college.
My grandfather, Masashi Ueda, is one of the founders of the first Japanese orchestra. He gave premier performances of works by Russian and Soviet composers. His study was full of orchestral scores with signatures of famous Russian and international performers with whom he performed. But he didn't grow up in a supportive environment either. He grew up as an orphan in a remote Hokkaido village where the only musical instrument he was exposed to was a primitive school organ, the kind that plays by pumping air with two pedals. He had no formal music education in childhood, but when he came to Tokyo in his teens to study electronics, he could not give up his dream. He studied piano, voice, bassoon, and orchestral conducting. I imagine it wasn't easy starting music education late and having to support himself. I hear he even worked as a pianist on an ocean liner at some point. Grandfather's family suffered a great deal during the Second World War; music was not considered a patriotic occupation. Grandfather also failed the physical examination to join the army because of bad eyesight. The whole family was therefore subject to name-calling – "hikoku-min," – saying that they were not "genuine" citizens.
It is perhaps thanks to this family trait that I became a rare species in Slavic studies in the American context that is primarily populated by American nationals and native speakers of Slavic languages. Our family members all like to do things that are different and perhaps unusual. I hope that my existence in the field will help inspire more people of different backgrounds to become interested in Slavic cultures and to enrich the field with their unique contributions and perspectives.
Czech is the language I speak at home.
Masako Fidler studies discourse analysis and cognitive linguistics with an emphasis on Czech, Japanese, and Russian. Her most recent publication is a monograph on Czech sound symbolism (Slavic Publishers).
Fidler's current research involves corpus-driven text analysis of Czech political texts using a statistical application recently developed at the Institute of the Czech National Corpus at Charles University in Prague. The study attempts to reproduce, among other things, different readings of socialist propaganda texts by pre-1989 and post-1989 readers. This is a collaborative project with Václáv Cvrček at the Institute of the Czech National Corpus at Charles University in Prague.
BA in Russian Literature (1983, Waseda U., Japan)
MA in Slavic Linguistics (1985, UCLA)
PhD in Slavic Linguistics (1991, UCLA)
1984-86: Sokol Fellowship in Slavic Languages and Literatures
1987-88: Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Award, University of California at Los Angeles
1996-98: Elected President of the North American Association of Teachers of Czech
2004: National Award for Best Teaching on the Post-Secondary
Level, from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic
and East European Languages
American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages
Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
International Association of Teachers of Czech (formerly North American Associate of Teachers of Czech)
International Cognitive Linguistics Association
Slavic Cognitive Linguistic Association
Czech language, culture and literature, Czech animation, Old Church Slavonic, Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, Comparative Analysis of Czech and Russian
Brown Humanities Research Fund (2013-2015
1993: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) East European Advanced Language Training Grant
September 1994 - January 1995: International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) Grant for Advanced Research in Central and East
Europe project on discourse functions of Czech conditionals (PI)
1996: Faculty Research Travel Grant from the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, to fund research in the comparative study of Czech and Russian hybrid conditionals
1998-1999, 1999-2000: Cultural grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for the North American Association of Teachers of Czech
1999-2000: Campus-based Grant from the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning for a project to add sound to the existing web-based Czech anthology. (PI)
2000-1: Francis Wayland Collegium Grant for expanding the Brown On-line Czech Anthology (principal investigator), $ 2,000
2000-1: Wriston Curricular Development Grant to develop materials for Czech language courses including the development of the Brown On-line Czech Anthology (principal investigator), $ 2,000
2000-1 Consortium Grant from the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning for expansion and elaboration of the web-based Czech Anthology (18-months, co-PI, 16 months), $ 14,730 and additional funding of $2,715
2001-2: Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship for first year Czech (The George I. Alden Trust, etc.)
2002-3: Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship for first year Czech (The National Science Foundation, etc.)
- Czech language link
- Brown Czech Literary Anthology
- The Needle-in-a-Haystack Project
- Dr. Masako Fidler featured on Brown Global Voices
- Onomatopoeia in Czech by Dr. Masako Fidler