2011. Witzlack-Makarevich, A. Typological Variation in Grammatical Relations Leipzig: University of Leipzig doctoral dissertation.



in preparation

  • (with Balthasar Bickel, Lennart Bierkandt, and Taras Zakharko) Alignment across the lexicon.
  • (with Lennart Bierkandt, Taras Zakharko, and Balthasar Bickel) Diachronic trends in the alignment of the Kiranti agreement system.
  • (with Taras Zakharko, Lennart Bierkandt, Fernando Zúñiga, and Balthasar Bickel) Decomposing hierarchical alignment: co-arguments as conditions on alignment (draft)



  • Katharina Haude and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. Referential hierarchies and alignment: An overview. In Linguistics 54 (3):  433–441.
  • Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Taras Zakharko, Lennart Bierkandt, Fernando Zúñiga and Balthasar Bickel. Decomposing hierarchical alignment: Co-arguments as conditions on alignment and the limits of referential hierarchies as explanations in verb agreement. In Linguistics 54 (3): 531–561.
  • Eva van Lier, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich and Joana Jansen. Referential and lexical factors in alignment variation of trivalent verbs. In  Linguistics 54 (3): 563–616.



  • Bickel, Balthasar, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Taras Zakharko, Giorgio Iemmolo. 2015. Exploring diachronic universals of agreement: alignment patterns and zero marking across person categories. In Fleischer, Jürg, Elisabeth Rieken, Paul Widmer (eds.) Agreement from a Diachronic Perspective, 29–52. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Bickel, Balthasar, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich and Taras Zakharko. 2015. Typological evidence against universal effects of referential scales on case alignment. In Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Ina, Andrej Malchukov and Marc Richards (eds.) Scales: A cross-disciplinary perspective on referential hierarchies, 7–44 Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.(draft)
  • Balthasar Bickel, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Kamal K. Choudhary, Matthias Schlesewsky, Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky. 2015. The neurophysiology of language processing shapes the evolution of grammar: evidence from case marking. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0132819. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132819
  • Ernszt, Martina, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich und Güldemann, Tom. 2015. Valency in Nǁng. In Malchukov, Andrej und Bernard Comrie (Hrsg.). Valency Classes in the World’s Languages. Volume 1: Introducing the Framework, and Case Studies from Africa and Eurasia, 185–220. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Marquard, Carina, Oliver Niebuhr und Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. 2015. Phonetic reduction of clicks – Evidence from Nǀuu. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, UK: the University of Glasgow. Paper number 0240.



  • (with Taras Zakharko, Lennart Bierkandt, and Balthasar Bickel) Semantic role clustering: An empirical assessments of semantic role types. Studies in Language 38:3, 485–511.



  • (with Balthasar Bickel, Giorgio Iemmolo, and Taras Zakharko) Patterns of alignment in verb agreement (draft). In: Bakker, D. & M. Haspelmath (eds.) Languages across boundaries: Studies in memory of Anna Siewierska, 15–36. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton
  • (with Balthasar Bickel) Towards a questionnaire on grammatical relations: a project bridging between typology and field linguistics. In Tomsk Journal of Linguistics and Anthropology 2 (2). (draft).




Recent presentations and posters


  • Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena. 2016. Typologizing restrictions on agreement: Agreement suspension in the languages of Africa and beyond. An invited  talk at Afrikalinguistisches Kolloquium, Seminar für Afrikawissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 12th of January 2016.
  • Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena. 2016. Typological Variation of Grammatical Relations. An invited talk at the Linguistics Department of Aarhus University, 2nd of February 2016.
  • Güldemann, Tom and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. 2016. Towards a comprehensive annotated corpus of Shona: design, compilation and possible applications. Presented at the workshop Changing patterns in the Shona novel from Zimbabwe: A linguistic literary analysis (Chinhoyi University of Technology, 23rd February 2016).
  • Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena. 2016. Using corpora for grammar writing and dictionary making. An invited  talk at the Makerere University, 27th of March 2016.
  • Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena. 2016. From fieldwork to a reference grammar: 
do's and don'ts of writing a grammar 
of an endangered language. An invited talk at the Makerere University, 27th of March 2016.
  • Sands, Bonny and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. Towards a dictionary of N|uu. Presented at "Challenges of Electronic Dictionary Publication“. University of Leipzig. 8-9 April 2016. (abstract, slides)
  • Janic, Katarzyna and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. The crosslinguistic diversity of antipassives: function, meaning and structure. Presented at SLE 2016 (49th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea), 31 August–3 September 2016. University of Naples Federico II, Naples.
  • Neshcheret, Nataliia and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. Passives with intransitive verbs: typology and distribution. Presented at PLM2016 (46th Poznań Linguistic Meeting), 15–17 September 2016, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań.
  • Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena. 2016. Typological variation of grammatical relations: How to capture it and what it tells us. Presented at "Typology of Morphosyntactic parameters", 12th of  October 2016, Moscow State University of Education.



  • Balthasar Bickel, Jan Strunk, Swintha Danielsen, Iren Hartmann, Brigitte Pakendorf, Søren Wichmann, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Taras Zakharko, Frank Seifart. Noun-to-verb ratio and word order. Diversity linguistics: retrospect and prospect, 1–3 May 2015 (MPI EVA, Leipzig, Germany)
  • Güldemann Tom and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. Socio-historical classification of Khoekhoe groups. Presented at “Speaking (of) Khoisan: A symposium reviewing southern African prehistory". MPI EVA, Leipzig, 14-16 May 2015. (link)



  • A. Witzlack-Makarevich, B. Bickel, T. Zakharko. 2014. Typological evidence against universal effects of referential scales on differential case marking. Conference on The Diachronic Typology of Differential Argument Marking. University of Konstanz.
  • Marquard, C., O. Niebuhr, A. Witzlack-Makarevich. 2014. Acoustic characteristics and variation of clicks in the endangered language N|uu. 14th International Conference on Laboratory Phonology, Tokyo, Japan. Poster.
  • Seifart, F., J. Strunk, B. Bickel, B. Pakendorf, A. Witzlack-Makarevich, I. Hartmann, S. Danielsen, S. Wichmann, T. Zakharko: Noun to verb ratio and word order. 8th Days of Swiss Linguistics. Universität Zürich.
  • Balthasar Bickel, Jan Strunk, Swintha Danielsen, Iren Hartmann, Brigitte Pakendorf, Søren Wichmann, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Taras Zakharko, Frank Seifart. 2015. Noun-to-verb ratio and word order. Diversity linguistics: retrospect and prospect, 1–3 May 2015 (MPI EVA, Leipzig, Germany)


Databases and electronic corpora

  • 2012. AUTOTYP dataset of agreement marking (with Kevin Bätscher, Lennart Bierkandt, Giorgio Iemmolo, Taras Zakharko and Balthasar Bickel)
  • 2012. (with Lennart Bierkandt, Kevin Bätscher, Taras Zakharko and Balthasar Bickel) AUTOTYP dataset of case marking.
  • 2012. (with Martina Ernszt, Sven Siegmund, and Tom Güldemann) Text Corpus of Nǀuu.
  • 2012. (with Martina Ernszt and Tom Güldemann) Valency classes of Nǁng. (a cooperation with the projekt Valency classes in the world's languages) ( draft )


Edited volumes


  • Witzlack-Makarevich, A., M. Ernszt. 2013. Khoisan Languages and Linguistics. Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium July 7-9, 2008, Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. (link)



  • 2014. Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena and Csilla Kász.. Review of Impersonal Constructions: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective ed. by Andrej Malchukov, Anna Siewierska (review). Anthropological Linguistics 56:2, 226-228.
  • 2008. Review of Brahui, a Dravidian Language (2006) by Mikhail S. Andronov, (Lincom: München) in LinguistList 16 December 2008.
  • 2008. Review of Exploring the Syntax-Semantics Interface (2005) by Robert D. Van Valin, Jr. (Cambridge University Press) in Linguistische Berichte 213, pp. 117-120.
  • 2007. Review of The Tujia Language (2006) by Cecilia Brassett, Philip Brassett and Meiyan Lu (Lincom: München) in LinguistList 29 January 2007.




Linguistic typology
  • 2016–2018: A member of the project Khoisan phonological typology project. JSPS Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI), PI Hirosi Nakagawa (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies).
  • 2016- : A member of GramBank (part of GlottoBank), Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Jena), leader of Kiel Team (
  • Handbook of Grammatical Relations: Balthasar Bickel and me are editing a volume on grammatical relations in the languages of the world. It will contain an introductory chapter by the editors, around 30 contributions of up to 30 pages on individual languages, and a final discussion chapter by the editors.
  • Typological Variance in the Processing of Grammatical Relations: In 2006-2013 I was a member of the project Typological Variance in the Processing of Grammatical Relations (part of DFG Forschergruppe 742 Grammatik und Verarbeitung verbaler Argument, University of Leipzig). As part of this cooperation I wrote my PhD thesis on Typological Variation in Grammatical Relations, co-authored several research papers and presentations and organized three workshops.
  • AUTOTYP typological database network: Since 2002, I am a member of AUTOTYP typological database network (Directors: Balthasar Bickel and Johanna Nichols). As part of this cooperation I co-developed a database on grammatical relations and compiled several datasets.
  • The relative frequencies of nouns, pronouns, and verbs cross-linguistically funded by Volkswagen-Stiftung (DOBES-Program). Since 2012. Further details can be found on the project website.
  • Referential Hierarchies in Morphosyntax: In 2009-2012, I was a member of the EuroBABEL Project Referential Hierarchies in Morphosyntax: description, typology, diachrony (Coordinator: Katharina Haude). As part of this cooperation I co-authored several research papers and presentations and organized three workshops.


Language documentation and description

  • 2017-2020: German partner in the project Luruuli/Lunyara-English dictionary with a descriptive basic grammar for language revitalisation and enhancement of mother-tongue based education (Volkswagen Stiftung, Funding Initiative Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, PI Saudah Namyalo)
  • Comprehensive Documentation and Analysis of Two Endangered Siberian Languages: legacy data and last speakers of Eastern Khanty and Southern Selkup
    The project will started in August 2012. It is funded by Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP)/Arcadia Foundation. The project leaders are Balthasar Bickel and Andrej Filchenko. Within this project I plan to carry out fieldwork on Southern Selkup.
  • A Text Documentation of N|uu: In 2007-2012, I was a member of the ELDP project A text documentation of N|uu (coordinator: Tom Güldemann). Within this project I carried out two fieldwork trips to Upington/Andriesval (Northern Cape, South Africa), co-authored several research papers and presentations, and participated in the creation of the corpus of Nǀuu.
  • Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to the Study of Ugandan Languages: In 2011, I was a member of the project Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to the Study of Ugandan Languages and taught two courses at Makerere-Zurich Summer school (Makerere, Uganda) funded by North-South Cooperation (University of Zurich). Further cooperation projects are planned for 2014.
  • Documentation of Richtersveld Nama: In 2004-2006, I was a member of the research project Expression of Focus in Southern African Languages (ZAS, Berlin, coordinator Tom Güldemann) and investigated the information structure of Richtersveld Nama (a variety of Nama/Khoekhoe (Central Khoisan) spoken in Northern Cape, RAS) as my MA thesis project. I conducted two extended fieldwork trips and collected a corpus of Richtersveld Nama Pear Stories. I sporadically continue working on this language and carried out another fieldwork trip in 2011 to work on the questionnaires for The Kalahari Basin area project.