Michael Silverstein was born in 1945.
After earning his undergraduate bachelor's degree at Brown Univeristy, he went on to receive his PhD from Harvard in 1972. He focused on the languages spoken by the indigenous peoples of Australia and Native Americans. In 1982, he was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship. This was the second year that the prize had been given out.
Currently, he is a professor at the University of Chicago where he teaches anthropology, linguistics, and psychology. The University of Chicago® The Department of Anthropology (2007) says that he is on "the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, studies language structure and its functional contextualization, language history and prehistory, the anthropology of language use, sociolinguistics, semiotics, language and cognition (and their development), and history of linguistic and ethnographic studies."
His work with the indigenous languages have contributed greatly to the ideas of "communicated meanings during verbal interaction to the role of language as a medium and symbol of cultural ideologies" according to the University of Chicago Experts Guide.