About me

I recently completed my PhD in linguistics at Humboldt University of Berlin (MelaTAMP project) and the University of Melbourne (CoEDL) in the field of semantics and pragmatics. In my research I created fieldwork-based analyses of Nafsan, an Oceanic language spoken in Vanuatu. After my PhD I also gained some experience in computational linguistics applied to the automotive industry. In October 2020 I will start a postdoc position at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf.

In my linguistic research I try to uncover regularities in grammar and contributing to answering some of the big questions about the nature of language: Which meanings are often expressed together or by the same word in the languages of the world? Why are they expressed in that way? How do linguistic structure, cognition and environment influence the development of the language?

I am currently working on analyzing the differences between linguistic methods and approaches, and trying to identify types of knowledge captured by them. Some of the main debates I am studying are functional vs. formal approaches and diachronic vs. synchronic approaches in linguistics.

Under “News, comics, research” on this website you will also find lego comics that I started publishing recently. These are short comic strips inspired by my fieldwork, linguistics, and living in different countries. You can see an example of such a comic below. You can also find all the posts organized by topic under “Navigate”. If you want to repost a comic, please provide a link to the original on my website.

Lionel Emil (left), speaker of Nafsan and participant in my research, and me (right) working on Nafsan transcriptions