Institut für Linguistik
In my research, I combine historical and functional-typological approaches to language. I am interested in how grammar changes over time, and what motivates those changes. Most recently, I have become particularly interested in the grammatical category of 'person' and the dynamics we find in this category despite the common perception of this category as a diachronically stable one.
My research has been focusing on the Trans-Himalayan (TH; a.k.a. Sino-Tibetan or Tibeto-Burman) languages of Northeast India. This is where I have a strong background in language description and documentation. My PhD dissertation was A grammar of Karbi, a TH language of Assam, Northeast India. I am currently working on a second grammatical description, of Monsang, a TH language of Manipur, Northeast India. I strongly believe in the mission of the Northeast Indian Linguistics Society, i.e. to build and maintain a reliable and enthusiastic network of international scholars, local Northeast Indian scholars, as well as community activists, to collaborate on the common goals of gaining a better understanding of the Northeast's linguistic diversity.
Through my research on TH languages of Northeast India, my goal is also to contribute to a better understanding of the prehistory of the Eastern Himalayan Region. Here, TH languages have for centuries been in contact with languages of the Indo-European (i.e. Indo-Aryan), Austroasiatic and Tai-Kadai families. Besides, this area is home to the highest density and diversity of TH languages. Historical linguistic research on these languages thus also represents a crucial window into the prehistory of Trans-Himalayan, one of the world's largest language families.