Present positions

Since August 2019 Researcher (DFG Heisenberg position), Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin
Since March 2019 Principal Investigator, DoReCo project (DFG-ANR)
Since February 2018 Chargé de recherche, CNRS, laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage, Lyon (on leave since August 2019)
Since Dec. 2020 Privatdozent, Linguistics, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


Previous positions

Dec. 2018 – Dec. 2020 Privatdozent, Universität zu Köln
July 2015 – Dec. 2018 Principal Investigator “Articulation speed variation cross-linguistically”, Universität zu Köln
Feb. 2014 – Jan. 2018 Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam
Aug. 2009 – June 2015 Senior Researcher, Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
August 2009 Faculty member, Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute. Class taught: Nominal classification
Oct. 2007 – July 2009 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, Universität Regensburg
Sep. 2004 – July 2009 Principal Investigator “Documenting the languages of the People of the Centre, especially Bora and Ocaina (North West Amazon)” (until Sep. 2007 as Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Degrees and university education

Dec. 2016 Habilitation (postdoctoral lecture qualification), University of Cologne. Thesis title: “Affix borrowing: Processes and Patterns” (cumulative thesis consisting of seven publications and a framework paper)
Feb. 2001 – Oct. 2005 Ph.D. in linguistics, cum laude, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Thesis title: “The Structure and Use of Shape-Based Noun Classes in Miraña (North West Amazon)”, supervised by S. C. Levinson, N. Himmelmann and N. J. Enfield. Ph.D. research at the Language and Cognition group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Feb. 1999 – Jan. 2001 M.A. in Etnolingüística, Centro Colombiano de Estudios de Lenguas Aborígenes (CCELA), Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Thesis title: “El sistema de clasificación nominal del miraña [The System of Nominal Classification of Miraña]”, supervised by J. Landaburu
Oct. 1992 – Jan. 1999 M.A. in General Linguistics, Freie Universität Berlin. Major: German and General Linguistics. Minors: Spanish, sociology. Additional studies in German literature, psychology, anthropology. Thesis title: “Grundfragen bei der Dokumentation bedrohter Sprachen [Fundamental Issues in the Documentation of Endangered Languages]”, supervised by H. H. Lieb
Sep. 1996 – May 1997 Studies in General linguistics, experimental phonetics, Spanish literature and Catalan language at the Universitat de Barcelona

Further certificates obtained and training

Dec. 2015 University teaching qualification (Basiskwalificatie onderwijs – BKO)
Aug. 2009 LSA Linguistic Institute, University of California, Berkeley
Dec. 2008 Media training for scientists, Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Heidelberg
Nov. 2008 Two-day workshop “Scientific Cooperation with Developing Countries”, Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, Bonn
July 2001 LSA Linguistic Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara

Awards and grants

May 2017 Lecturer of the Year prize for BA Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam
Dec. 2005 Mary R. Haas Award, presented by the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) for a manuscript from a younger scholar that makes a significant substantive contribution to the knowledge of American Indian languages
Mar. 2001 – Feb. 2004 Ph.D. stipend of the Max Planck Gesellschaft
Feb. 1999 – Jan. 2001 Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) stipend for graduate students
Sep. 1996 – Jun. 1997 Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) stipend for undergraduate students of Romance Studies


Since July 2003 Fieldwork on Bora (Boran) and Resígaro (Arawakan) in Northern Peru, supervision of fieldwork on Witoto and Ocaina (Witotoan) (total of 10 months)
Mar. 1999 – Oct. 2002 Fieldwork on Miraña (Boran) in Southern Colombia (total of 10 months)
Feb. – April 1998 Various short field trips to indigenous communities in Colombia: Wiwa, Chimila (Chibchan), Cocama (Tupian) as visiting researcher at the CCELA, Bogotá

Membership in professional associations

Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT)

Linguistic Society of America (LSA)

Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS)

Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Sprachen (GBS) (vice president)


Dissertation committees

May 2019 Luis Miguel Rojas Berscia (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Ph.D. thesis “From Kawapanan tu Shawi. Topics in language variation and change”
March 2018 Bien DoBui (Université Paris-Sorbonne), PhD. thesis “Grammaire de l’amuzgo de Xochistlahuaca, langue otomangue orientale. Documentation d’une variété amuzgoane de «langue en danger»”
Sept. 2017 Helder Perri Ferreira (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Ph.D. thesis “Yanomama Clause Structure”
June 2017 Marlou van Rijn (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Ph.D. thesis “The expression of modifiers and arguments in the noun phrase and beyond. A typological study”
Dec. 2016 Matthias Passer (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Ph.D. thesis “The Noun Phrase in the Languages of South America”
Sep. 2016 Ewelina Wnuk (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Ph.D. thesis “Semantic specificity of perception verbs in Maniq”
June 2016 Femmy Admiraal (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Ph.D. thesis “A grammar of space in Baure: A study on the linguistic encoding of spatial reference”
April 2014 Joshua Birchall (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Ph.D. thesis “Argument marking patterns in South American languages”
Sept. 2013 Doris Fagua (Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7), committee member and prérapporteur for Ph.D. thesis “Aspects morphosyntaxiques de l’ocaina”
Sept. 2013 Ergin Öpengin (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), Ph.D. thesis “Clitic/affix interactions. A corpus-based study of person marking in the Mukri variety of Central Kurdish”
Sept. 2012 Marine Vuillermet (Université Lumière Lyon 2), Ph.D. thesis “A grammar of Ese Ejja”
July 2012 Olga Krasnoukhova (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Ph.D. thesis “The Noun Phrase in the Languages of South America”
June 2010 Helder Pereira (CIESAS, Mexico), M.A. thesis “Los Clasificadores Nominales del Yanomama de Papiu (Brazil)”


Thesis supervision

2011-2016 Katherine Bolaños (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, and Universiteit van Amsterdam): Day-to-day supervision of Ph.D. thesis “A grammar of Kakua” (defended October 2016)
2014 Eline Visser (Universiteit van Amsterdam): Day-to-day supervision of M.A. thesis “Evidentiality that also expresses tense: A typological study”
2017 Annemijn von Holtz (Universiteit van Amsterdam). B.A. thesis “Universele klank-betekenisassociaties binnen kleurterminologie”
2017 Bart Nijsten (Universiteit van Amsterdam). B.A. thesis “Additieve en/of alternatieve coördinatie constructies: een onderzoek naar de typologische claims van mental logic theory”
2014 Simone Mooi (Universiteit van Amsterdam): Day-to-day supervision of B.A. thesis “Plantation creoles vs. trade pidgins: The effect of social inequality on language structure”
2014 Redmer Kronemeijer (Universiteit van Amsterdam): Day-to-day supervision of B.A. thesis “Optionele getalsmarkering in Cochabamba-Quechua; een corpusgebaseerd onderzoek”


Conferences, symposia, and workshops organized

Aug. 2016 Scientific committee member,      European Summer School in Linguistic Typology 2016 (TypoLing2016), Porquerolles, Hyères, September 4-17.
Aug. 2013 Co-chair of the local organizing committee of the Association for Linguistic Typology 10th Biennial Conference (ALT 10), Leipzig, August 12-13.
Aug. 2013 Organization of the international workshop “The relative frequencies of nouns, pronouns, and verbs in discourse”, Leipzig, August 12-13.
July 2012 Organization of the symposium “Arawakan linguistic and cultural identities” at the 54th International Congress of Americanists (ICA), Vienna, July 15-20. (with Françoise Rose)
Nov. 2011 Organization of the conference “Potentials of Language Documentation: Methods, Analyses, and Utilization”, Leipzig, November 3-4.
April 2010 Organization of the symposium “Valency increasing strategies in Arawakan languages” at the international conference Amazónicas III: Phonology and Syntax, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, April 19-24. (with Françoise Rose and Lev Michael)
Oct. 2007 -July 2009 Organization of the lecture series “LiFo – Linguistisches Forum” at the Universität Regensburg (with Alexander Kalkhoff and Roland Meyer)
Nov. 2006 Organization of the annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Sprachen (GBS) at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Berlin, November 18.
May 2006 Organization of the workshop “Taller de lenguas amazónicas y otras”, Laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage, CNRS & Université Lyon 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Homme, Mai 12-13 (with Antoine Guillaume)
July 2003 Organization of the symposium “Las lenguas y culturas del Caquetá-Putumayo” at the 51st International Congress of Americanists, Santiago de Chile, July 14-18. (with Juan Alvaro Echeverri and Dimitri Karadimas)
Sept. 2002 – March 2004 Organization of a lecture series for Ph.D. students at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen (with Pamela Perniss)


Publication reviews

2010, 2013 Member of the Scientific Committees of the 43rd and 46th Annual Meetings of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (44 abstracts reviewed)
Since 2008 Member of the editorial board of Brill’s Studies in the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (one book manuscript reviewed)
Since 2006 Ad-hoc reviewer for Linguistic Typology, Linguistics, Studies in Language, Diachronica, International Journal of American Linguistics, Language Documentation & Conservation, Glossa


Academic service

since Sep. 2015 Studiebegeleider [study counselor], BA Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
Feb.-Aug. 2014, since Sep. 2016 Member (Feb.-Aug. 2014) and director (since Sep. 2016) of the Opleidingscommissie [Board of Studies] for BA Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
Since Oct. 2012 Member of the Ethics Committee of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (ten proposals reviewed)
Aug. 2009 -Aug. 2012 Responsible for the acquisition of linguistics books for the library of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Since June 2006 Member of the Steering Committee of the DOBES (language documentation) program of the Volkswagen Foundation
Since Nov. 2005 Coordination of application and selection procedures for stipends of the Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Sprachen (GBS)



German native
English fluent
Spanish fluent
Dutch nearly fluent
Bora, Resígaro working knowledge
French, Portuguese reading knowledge