Kenneth Van Bik

Contact Information

Office: GH-424

Voice: 657-278-4884

Dept: 657-278-3163

Kenneth Van Bik

Assistant Professor 


Ken grew up in Hakha, Chin State, Myanmar (Burma), and was the fourth son of a Bible translator (Rev. Dr. David Van Bik) and a primary school teacher (Mabel Zo Kai). He went to a high school in Yangon (formerly known as St. John Diocesan Boys School), and continued his college education at Yangon University where he graduated with a B.S. Degree in Physics. Afterwards, Ken pursued a theological education at Myanmar Institute of Theology in Yangon, American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, CA, and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley. While he was at the GTU, he had an opportunity to work with Berkeley linguist Prof. James A. Matisoff and become convinced that he was more interested in linguistics than theology. Ken went on to study linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a Ph.D. His dissertation was about the historical aspect of the Chin languages, reconstructing a hypothetical ancestor-language of the modern Chin languages, and the analysis of how Chin languages are related to one another. Ken has taught in the Department of Linguistics and Language Development at San Jose State University for several years, and he was an adjunct professor in the Department of Education at the University of San Francisco.


Ph.D.   2006    Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

M.A.    2000    Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

M.A.    1993    Religion, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley

B.D.     1991    Theology, Myanmar Institute of Theology, Yangon, Myanmar

B.S.      1985    Physics, University of Yangon, Myanmar

Research Areas

Historical-comparative linguistics, morphology, lexicography, Tibeto-Burman linguistics, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition.

Courses Regularly Taught

language and Linguistics, Historical Linguistics


Van Bik, Kenneth, and Thlasui Tluangneh. (2017). Directional Pre-verbal Particles in Hakha Lai. Himalayan Linguistics 16.1 (

Van Bik, Kenneth (Ed.). (2015). Continuum of the Richness of Languages and Dialects in Myanmar. Published by Chin Human Rights Organization, Yangon, Myanmar.

Van Bik, Kenneth. (2010). The Syntax of Psycho-collocaltion in Hakha Lai. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, Volume 33.2:137-150.

Van Bik, Kenneth. (2009). Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages. STEDT Monograph Series: University of California at Berkeley.

Van Bik, Kenneth. (2007). The Chin. In Donald A. Ranard and Sandy Barron (eds.), Refugees  From Burma, Their Backgrounds and Refugee Experiences. WashingtonD.C. CAL.

Van Bik, Kenneth. (2004). Junctural and parasitic voicing in Burmese. In Pawel M. Nowak, CoreyYoquelet, and David Mortenson (eds.), Proceedings of the 29th  Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society. Berkeley, CA.

Office Hours

Spring 2023

TTh 9:30am - 11:00am