• Habilitation ("professorial dissertation"). Universität Osnabrück. February, 2007
  • Ph.D.  Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. January 1997. Major: General linguistics, Minors: Indology, Indo-European linguistics
  • Magister. Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. December, 1993. Major: Indology, Minors: General linguistics, Indo-European linguistics
  • Fulbright Scholar  at the “Nordfriesische Wörterbuchstelle”, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. October, 1986 - July, 1987
  • B.A. Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, USA. Major: German, Minor: physics. May, 1986
  • Exchange student - American Field Service (AFS) in Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil. February, 1981 - January, 1982
  • Scituate High School, Scituate, Massachusetts, USA. June, 1981



Academic experience

  • Since October, 2011: Full Professor of General Linguistics, University of Kiel, Germany
  • April, 2009 - August, 2011: Visiting professor (Vertretung der Stelle eines Universitätsprofessors, W2) for "General Linguistics, especially Typology and Linguistic Variation", Universität Leipzig
  • October, 2008-March, 2009: Visiting professor (Verwaltung der Stelle eines Universitätsprofessors, W2) for "Applied Linguistics in German", Universität Osnabrück
  • October, 2006-September, 2008: Visiting professor (Verwaltung der Stelle eines Universitätsprofessors, W2) for "German as a Second Language and General Linguistics", Universität Osnabrück
  • October, 2000-September, 2006: Temporary assistant professor (wissenschaftlicher Assistent, C1), General linguistics, Typology and empirical linguistics, Universität Osnabrück
  • October, 1998-September, 2000: Research assistant (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the project of the German Research Foundation (DFG) "Allgemein-vergleichende Grammatik (AVG, “Cross-linguistic grammar”)", Department of German, Theoretical linguistics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München
  • November, 1997-September, 1998: Research assistant (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), Project of the Swiss National Foundation (Schweizerischen Nationalfonds) "Arealtypology of South Asia" General linguistics, Universität Zürich
  • October, 1997-September, 1998: Temporary assistant professor (Assistent mit Abschluss), General linguistics, Universität Zürich
  • October, 1994-July, 1997: Doctoral position, Indology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
  • February, 1994-September, 1994: Acting assistant professor (Vertretung der Assistentenstelle) , Indology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel



Other academic activities

  • Dean of Student Affairs for the School of Humanities (Prodekan für Studium und Prüfungen der Philosphischen Fakultät) of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 2 July, 2014 - 6 July, 2016



Externally-funded Projects

  • One of 25 principle investigators (PIs) in the Cluster of Excellence

    "ROOTS - Social, Environmental and Cultural Connectivities of Past Societies"

    The goal of this Cluster of Excellence is to research in a conceptually broad, interdisciplinary framework the roots of social, environmental and cultural phenomena and proesses which have played an important role in shaping human development.

    Duration of cluster: 7 years
    Funded by the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG))
    Time frame: January, 2019 - December, 2025


  • Towards a linguistic prehistory of eastern-central South Asia (and beyond)
    The primary goal of the project is to determine prehistoric language contacts in South Asia by examining the distribution of morphosyntactic patterns in languages of the region from different families, above all in eastern-central South Asia, and checking these for potential areal and genealogical trends, constantly viewing this information against the backdrop of what is known of the history of this region and South Asia in general. To achieve this goal, the team will compile a fine-grained morphosyntactic database on up to ca. 150 languages from the core area and selected languages from throughout South Asia. Finally, the project will contribute considerably to our present knowledge of the languages of this region by conducting field work on several languages of the region on which very little is known.

    Project duration: 36 months
    Funded by the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG))
    Begun: 1 October, 2017


  • "Literacy Acquisition in Schools in the Context of Migration and Multilingualism - A Comparative Study" (LAS), in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Michael Bommes (IMIS, Universität Osnabrück), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mehlem (Universität Bielefeld, previously: Universität Osnabrück) and Prof. Dr. Christoph Schroeder (Universität Postdam, previously İstanbul Bilgi  University). 2007-2011.

    Team members in Germany: Dr. Anja Boneß (Universität Kiel), Dr. Inken Sürig (Universität Osnabrück), Dr. Yazgül Şimşek (Universität Potsdam), Helena Olfert, M.A. (Universität Duisburg)
    Funded by the VolkswagenFoundation



Hosting of individuals in Kiel with an externally funded grant:

Prof. Dr. Ramawatar Yadav, Kathmandu, three-month senior researcher grant with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Topic: “Forty Hitherto Undiscovered and Unstudied Maithili Pañcaka Songs of King Jagatprakāśmalla: Elegy to Candraśekharasiṃha (Text, Translation, Commentary, Grammatical Notes, and Index)”. July 1 – September 30, 2013.

Prof. Dr. Ramawatar Yadav, Kathmandu, a second three-month senior researcher grant with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has also been approved. Topic: “Francis Buchanan’s Comparative Vocabularies of Maithili (and Eight Other Languages)”.  July 1 – September 30, 2018.

Dr. Netra Paudyal, two-year Georg Forster postdoctoral grant from the Humboldt Foundation to conduct research on the endangered Indo-Aryan language Darai, spoken in Nepal. January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2015.

Judith Voß, M.A., three-year grant from the “Endangered Languages Documentation Programme” (ELDP), Rausing Foundation / SOAS (including all travel) to document the highly endangered South Munda language Gutob. Currently ongoing.



Travel Grants from the German Research Council (DFG)

1. Sadri (Sadani), March, 2009. Jharkhand, central-eastern India
2. Kharia, February - March, 2003. Jharkhand, central-eastern India
3. Kharia, February - March, 2002. Jharkhand, central-eastern India