He received his B.A. in German from Michigan State University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Harvard University in 1977. From 1968 to 1972 he served in the United States Air Force, where he learned Chinese and worked as a Chinese radio listener. In 1978 he accepted a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he became Paul Debreczeny Distinguished Professor of Linguistics. As of July 1, 2007 he is A. Richard Diebold Professor of Indo-European Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 2005 he was the Hermann and Klara Collitz Professor at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute.
- Studies in Hittite Historical Phonology, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1984, 176pp.
- Lycian Lexicon, self-published, Chapel Hill, 1989, iv + 122pp.
- Cuneiform Luvian Lexicon, self-published, Chapel Hill, 1993, vi + 298pp. luvlex
- Lycian Lexicon (2nd revised edition), self-published, Chapel Hill, 1993, vi + 130pp.
- Anatolian Historical Phonology, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1994, iv + 457pp.
- A Dictionary of the Lycian Language, Beech Stave Press, Ann Arbor/New York, 2004, xvii + 138 pp.