Research interests / Forschungsschwerpunkte
My research has centred on two themes, with a fair amount of overlap:
The languages of the extended Middle East, in particular the region covered by ancient Mesopotamia, now divided up between Iraq, Turkey and Iran, with a particular focus on Kurdish. The region is deeply fascinating in its own right, but I tend to see it primarily as a laboratory for investigating more general issues of language change, language typology, and the sociolinguistics of minority languages. Current projects include coordinating the data collection for the Iranian languages within the CoBL (Cognacy in Basic Lexicon) project at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (as of 2016), working closely with Erik Anonby and his Iran Atlas Project, and the supervision of the language documentation project on Chirag, an endangered language of the Dargwa branch of Nakh-Daghestanian (post-doc Dr. Dmitry Ganenkov).
The organisation and structure of connected discourse cross-linguistically, a branch of corpus-based typology, conducted in collaboration with Stefan Schnell. Data, background information, and published research from this project are available at the Multi-CAST website (Multilingual Corpus of Annotated Spoken Texts), set up in collaboration with the Language archive at the University of Cologne, within the CLARIN framework.