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Thurgood's areas of specialization include tonogenesis, historical linguistics, language contact, and second language acquisition. Thurgood has reconstructed Chamic (Austronesian), the Hlai languages (Kra-Dai and Kam-Sui), and parts of Tibeto-Burman (Sino-Tibetan).
Thurgood's tone work includes the reconstruction of tone in Chamic, internal reconstruction of tone in Jiamao, and a substantial article on tonogenesis in general.
- Graham Thurgood (1999). From ancient Cham to modern dialects: two thousand years of language contact and change : with an appendix of Chamic reconstructions and loanwords. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2131-9. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- GrahamThurgood. (1999). From Ancient Cham to Modern Dialects: Two Thousand Years of Language Contact and Change: With an Appendix of Chamic Reconstructions and Loanwords. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications, No. 28, pp. i, iii-vii, ix-xiii, xv-xvii, 1-259, 261-275, 277-397, 399-407.
- Graham Thurgood. (1992). The aberrancy of the Jiamao dialect of Hlai: speculation on its origins and history. Southeast Asian Linguistics Society I, Edited by Martha Ratliff and Eric Schiller. Tempe: Arizona State University Southeast Asian Studies Publication Program. pp. 417–433.
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