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  • I grew up with a strange name in a small village in Franconia.
  • I studied Sinology and Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin and majored in General Linguistics at Technische Universität Berlin.
  • I spent a year in Beijing, where I studied at 北外 (Beijing Foreign Studies University) and worked at the Microsoft Research Center.
  • I was headed to SOAS for a PhD in Language Documentation when Manfred Krifka from Humboldt-Universität asked me whether I’d like to document languages in Vanuatu. I said yes.
  • While waiting for the grant decision on the documentation project, I worked with Malte Zimmermann at Potsdam University for 9 months on Chinese Information Structure.
  • Between 2009 and 2013, I documented two endangered and previously undescribed languages of Vanuatu: Daakaka and Dalkalaen.
  • After the documentation project, I wrote a grant proposal with Manfred Krifka. While waiting on the decision, I held positions at ZAS Berlin, working on embedding structures in Bislama, and at Humboldt-Universität, working on possession, serial verb constructions and modal semantics. In 2014, I had my son Leonhard and took 8 months of parental leave.
  • During the winter semester of 2017/18 I was a guest professor at Universität des Saarlandes, working on information density in cross-linguistic comparison.
  • Since March 2016, my project proposal with Manfred Krifka on TAM expressions in Melanesian languages has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is hosted by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Academic positions

since 2016 Principal investigator, MelaTAMP project, funded by DFG
2017-2018 Guest professor, SFB on Information Density and Linguistic Encoding, at Universität des Saarlandes
since 2014 Post-doctoral research fellow, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
2013-2014 Post-doctoral research fellow, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (Center for general linguistics), Berlin. PB3: Research on clause-embedding predicates in Bislama.
2009-2013 Research assistant in the DoBeS project documenting the languages of West Ambrym, Vanuatu: Documentation of Daakaka and Dalkalaen
2008-2009 Research assistant, Special Research Unit 632, Universität Potsdam:
Investigations into information structure in Mandarin Chinese

Non-academic positions


Language expert, Microsoft Research Center Beijing (research on Text-to- Speech technology, phonology workshops for developers)


2009-2012 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, General Linguistics, Ph.D. thesis: A Grammar of Daakaka
2003-2008 Technische Universität Berlin, General Linguistics, M.A.; Freie Universität Berlin, Sinology (minor) and Comparative Linguistics (minor), M.A.
2005-2006 Beijing Foreign Studies University (北京外国语大学)