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Curriculum Vitae

Personal Information

Date of birth December 29th, 1972
Place of birth Cologne (Germany)

Academic Work Experience

since 04/2014 Professor of Linguistics (tenured) at the Department for Romance Languages at the University of Cologne
04/2013 - 03/2014 Professor of Linguistics (tenured) at the Department for Romance Languages at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin
09/2012 - 03/2013 Professor of Linguistics (tenured) at the Department of General Linguistics at the University of Strasbourg
04/2012 - 08/2012 Visiting professor of Linguistics at the Department for Romance Languages at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin
04/2010 - 03/2012 Visiting professor of Linguistics at the Department for Romance Languages at the University of Freiburg
10/2007 - 03/2010 Visiting professor of Linguistics at the Department for Romance Languages at the University of Hamburg
08/2007 - 10/2007 Researcher, ZAS Berlin, subproject P11 (Questions & Answers)
02/2007 - 07/2007 Reintegration fellowship of the DFG, ZAS Berlin
11/2004 - 01/2007 Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the German Research Foundation DFGat New York University. Coordination of the project A variationist study on interrogative word order variants of French and Persian
05/2000 - 10/2004 Research Associate, University of Tübingen (Germany), Research Center Linguistic Data Structures, subproject “Suboptimal Syntactic Structures”.

Education and Training


Habilitation, University of Freiburg

Title of the work: "Gradient Acceptability and Frequency Effects in Information Structure: a quantitative study on Spanish, Catalan, and Persian"

10/2000 -07/2003 (officially awarded in 10/2004 after book publication)

Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics, Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen (Germany), grade: summa cum laude

Dissertation title: “Grammatische Variation und Sozialstruktur
(keywords: French interrogative syntax, sociolinguistics, linguistic methodology)
supervisor: Prof. Jürgen M. Meisel, co-supervisor: Prof. Wolfgang Sternefeld

10/1998 -11/2000 Diploma in Psychology (equivalent to M.A.), University of Bonn (Germany)
10/1994 -06/1998

Double degrees, Linguistics and Psychology, University of Toulouse 2 (France)

a. Maîtrise in Linguistics (equivalent to M.A.)
b. Licence in Psychology (equivalent to B.A.)

10/1993 - 09/1994 Psychology, 1st year, University of Bonn (Germany)
11/1992 - 07/1993 French Language Course, Alliance Française, Toulouse (France), result: Diplôme de Langue Française

Other Academic Activities

01/2024-12/2026 Representative of subject group 5 in the research committee of Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne
08/2023 - 09/2024 Executive director of subject group 5 of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne
since 2018 Participation in the structures of the International Office of the University of Cologne for the intensification of the university cooperation with Iran
10/2017 - 03/2018 Executive director of subject group 5 of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne
02/2017 - 03/2017 External member of the appointment committee W1 - Romance Linguistics of the Goethe University Frankfurt
07/2016 Peer reviewer for Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
since 2016 Member of the Rectorate Commission for Information and Communication of the University of Cologne
2016 - 2018 Board member of the Cologne Center of Language Sciences (CCLS)
04/2016 - 03/2017 Executive director of the Department of Romance Studies of the University of Cologne
2016 - 2017 One of four initiators for grant application for cluster of excellence Choice in Expression
06/2015 Founding of the Sociolinguistic Lab
since 2015 Public relations for the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Sounds and Structure in Language and Music in the context of the SFB 1252, the Sociolinguistic Lab and as a representative of the internationally positioned science of the University of Cologne (see below)
2014 Peer reviewer for the journal Linguistics
2013 - 2017 Coordination of the Cologne-Berlin Register Group. In collaboration with Anke Lüdeling. (Application for the establishment of a research group, rejected in 2015)
2012 - 2013 Member of the Linguistics selection committee, University of Strasbourg
2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 Peer reviewer for the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
2011 Panel chair at the conference Variation and Typology, Helsinki
2010 Reviewer for Research Grant Proposals submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
2009 Reviewer for the journal Language Variation and Change
2008 Peer reviewer for the journal Lingua
since 2005 Member of the program committee (2005), abstract reviewer (2005-2011), and panel chair (2007) for the conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation

International Research Visits

Department of Linguistics, University of Southern California
02/2019 -
Department of Linguistics, New York University
04/2018 -
Department of Linguistics, University of Tehran
01/2015 -
Department of Linguistics, New York University
11/2014 Department of Linguistics, University of Tehran
09/2011 Department of Linguistics, University of Isfahan
09/2008 Department of Linguistics, University of Barcelona
08/2008 Department of Linguistics, New York University
11/2004 -
Department of Linguistics, New York University
06/2005 -
Department of Linguistics, Sorbonne-Nouvelle – Paris III
12/2004 -
Department of Linguistics, Allameh Tabatabai University Tehran
10/2001 -
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
11/1999 -
Department of Linguistics, Université de Toulouse II

Workshop Organization

11/2022 Workshop Flexible and Multiple Plural Marking in Language Contact and Creolization: Social and Situational Correlates at the Humboldt-University of Berlin. In collaboration with Tonjes Veenstra, Nico Lehmann, Elisabeth Verhoeven, Miriam Meyerhoff, and Manfred Krifka
05/2019 Workshop, panel discussion and concert Silence and Ellipsis in Linguistic, Philosophy and Music, University Teheran (in collaboration with Sven Bernecker)
04/2019 Kick-off of the Sociolinguistic Cocktail Lecture Series, University of Cologne (speaker: Heike Wiese, in collaboration with Isabelle Buchstaller)
02/2019 Multiculturalism and Multilingualism in a Megacity, Workshop (Philipp Angermeyer, Naomi Nagy, Michael Newman, James Stanford, Arthur Spears, Isaac Bleamn) and public panel discussion Empowering Mother Languages - Sustaining Diversity (Rosemary Feal, Ben Kallos, Lisa Coleman), DWIH New York (in collaboration with Gregory Guy)
03/2017 Register in linguistic theory: Modeling functional variation, 39th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS), Saarland University
10/2016 Establishing cross-cultural sociolinguistics, University of Victoria
07/2016 Sounds and Structure in Language and Music, University of Cologne
06/2016 Video in linguistic research and annotation, University of Cologne
06/2015 Toward cross-cultural sociolinguistics, University of Cologne
03/2014 Section Grammatical categories in macro- and microcomparative linguistics, 36th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), University of Marburg. (in collaboration with Martin Haspelmath and Andreas Dufter)
07/2013 Corpora and tools in Linguistics, University of Strasbourg (in collaboration with the University of Freiburg, Saarland University, and University of Nancy)
11/2011 System, Usage, and Society, University of Freiburg
01/2003 Diversity of Data and Perspectives in Universality and Variation, University of Tübingen

Awards, Grants, Honors

2021 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) research and collaboration grant for the project Multilingualism in Iran: a sociolinguistic approach to grammar in Higher Education Dialogue with the Islamic World
2020 - 2027 CRC 1412 “Register. Language-Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation”, Humboldt-University Berlin, PI in subproject Disentangling cross-linguistic and language-specific aspects of register variation (in collaboration with Elisabeth Verhoeven, Humboldt-University Berlin)
2020 - 2021 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), “EduVenTure”, PI in subproject Multilingualism in the Old and the New World (in collaboration with Gregory Guy, NYU) in International Virtual Academic Collaboration
03/2019 - 10/2019 Cologne Summer Schools: Promotion of CSS „Language, Diversity and Minorities“, University of Cologne (in collaboration with Katajun Amirpur)
2017 - 2020 CRC 1252 "Prominence in Language", Principal investigator in three subprojects: (i) C01 Prominence and information structure, (ii) Information structure project (in collaboration with N. Himmelmann & C. Rietz) Data, design and sustainability (iii) Public relations project (in collaboration with K. v. Heusinger) Making prominence prominent
06/2016 -
Grant of the Thyssen Foundation in order to support the conference "Sounds and Structure in Language and Music"
09/2013 -
Grant of the German Research Foundation DFG in order to fund the project „The Relation between Grammar and Usage: Null Subjects and Subject Position in Spanish and Persian“.
07/2011 Grant of the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft in Freiburg for transcribing and annotating Persian speech recordings of the database sgs
01/2011 Grant of the Freiburg School of Advanced Studies in order to organize the international workshop System, Usage, and Society
09/2010 Travel Grant of the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft in Freiburg for participating at the conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation in San Antonio, US
09/2009 Travel Grant of the Stiftungen und Körperschaftsvermögen of the University of Hamburg for participating at the conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation in Ottawa, CA
11/2004 - 07/2007 Emmy-Noether Research Grant (+ Rückkehrstipendium), German Research Foundation DFG
11/2003 - 07/2004 Grant of the interdisciplinary art, science & business program of the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (Germany)
04/2002 - 09/2002 Visiting scholar at the linguistic research group GGT of the UAB University of Barcelona (Spain), funded by the European inter-regional institution Four motors for Europe
10/1995 - 09/1998 Scholarship of the Dr. Jost-Henkel-Stiftung, Düsseldorf (Germany)
10/1995 - 06/1996 Grant of the Franco-German Youth Office, Berlin / Paris, for a research internship at the University of Toulouse 2, France

Supervising Activities and Member of Dissertation Committees
(Univ. of Hamburg, Univ. of Freiburg, Univ. of Strasbourg, Humboldt University Berlin, Univ. Luxembourg)

2023 Eric Engel (PhD). Introducing and tracking discourse entities in French: Aspects of accessibility and “topicality”.
2021 Alessia Cassarà (PhD). Subject focus in French and Spanish.
2021 Simone Mortini (PhD). Emergent multilingual children’s agency within translanguaging practices with peers and practitioners in formal and non-formal early childhood education settings in Luxembourg.
2021 Lena Pfannholzer (B.A.). Das Subjekt in Kopulasätzen: Eine Studie zum Spanischen.
2020 Georg Theiss (M.A.). Aussprachevarianten der französischen Existentialkonstruktion il y a.
2018 Camilla Hemmer (M.A.). Spanish in New York: an agent-based simulation.
2017 Chiara Gianollo (Habilitation). Indefinites between Latin and Romance.
2016 Frank Seifart (Habilitation). Grammatik im noisy channel: Bora Trommelkommunikation.
2016 Timo Roettger (PhD). Tonal Placement in Tashlhiyt Berber exhibits probabilistic variability.
2015 Eric Engel (M.A.). Prepositional null objects in spontanous spoken French: a corpus study on syntactic, semantic and pragmatic licensing factors. 
2014 Sarah Manz (M.A.). Towards a focus annotation in a corpus of spontaneous speech.
2015 F. Modarresi (Habilitation). Bare nouns in Persian: Interpretation, Grammar and Prosody.
2013 Konrad Schaller (B.A.). Quo vadis créole martiniquais? An analysis of a French-based Creole in Martinique.
2013 Eric Engel (B.A.). Syntactic integration and the interpretation of concessives.
2013 Antonia Hausen (B.A.). Sociolinguistic variation in French at the level of suprasegmental phonology.
2012 Julia Henkel (B.A.). Semantics of topicality and theticity.
2012 Lena Hübner (B.A.). Comparing Language Contact Situations: French/English in Quebec and Spanish/Catalan in Catalonia.
2012 Daniel Hornuß (Staatsexamen & Magister). Theticity in French.
2012 Antje Galitschke (B.A.). Verb semantics, definiteness, and specificity: a corpus study.
2012 Martin Hilpert (Habilitation). Rocket surgery: On the use and comprehension of mixed metaphors.
2012 Assif Am-David (PhD). The Distribution of Definiteness Markers Across Languages: A Semantic Study.
2010 Gorden Maschwitz (Staatsexamen). Spanish subject pronouns and the fine structure of topics.
2010 Atena Sazegar (B.Sc. psychology). Cognitive representation of null subject pronouns and the theory of information structure.
2009 Christine Thamm (Staatsexamen). The interaction between syntax, pragmatics, and intonation in French polar questions.
2009/2010 Jana Freundt (B.A.). Focus in French cleft constructions: An analysis in terms of evolutionary game theory.
2009 Claudia Langwald (Baccalaureat). Verbal person and number inflection and null subjects in Spanish.
2009 Barbara Sastre (PhD). A sociolinguistic study on the attitude towards the language of German immigrants in Mallorca.

Public relations work in the field of linguistics

TV WDR (Hier und heute, daheim+unterwegs, Lokalzeit)
Radio SWR2, WDR3, Domradio, WDR2, WDR aktuell, Deutschlandradio, Deutschlandfunk, Hitradio, Kölncampus
News papers & journals Süddeutsche Zeitung, BR24, Stuttgarter Zeitung, Deutsche Welle, Meeting Point Cologne, Deutsche Universitätszeitung, Dailyscience, Kölner Universitätsmagazin, Kölner Stadtanzeiger
Social media Youtube and Twitter channel of the University of Cologne


German, Persian mother tongues
French, English, Spanish, Italian, Catalan more or less fluent
Portuguese, Modern Greek, Norwegian (Bokmål) basic knowledge