My professional story
I studied linguistics at the University of Vienna
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on: IDs in Syntax and Discourse. An analysis of Extraposition in German (1995)
I spent some time postdocing in Budapest, Los Angeles and finally in Vancouer, at the Department of Linguistics at UBC, where I took up a tenure-track position in 2001.
I went through the academic ranks, served as head of department for 1 year
and in 2019 I relocated to Barcelona.
Here I hold the position of an ICREA research Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.My research story
I have originally been trained as a theoretical linguist specializing on syntax. During my time at the University of British Columbia I became interested in cross-linguistic variation (studying several languages indigenous to the Americas). This led me to new (to me) methodological approaches: between 1996 and 2019 I conducted fieldwork on understudied languages. It allowed me to develop expertise in conducting elicitation tasks, both to gather novel data but also to collect well-formedness judgments. In doing theoretically informed fieldwork it became also necessary to take a more holistic approach towards language integrating several sub-domains of linguistics which have traditionally been kept apart. And I became interested in how to model the interfaces between syntax, morphology, semantics, pragmatic, and phonology. This work led me to develop a new theoretical model of linguistic variation (the Universal Spine Hypothesis)
My work on the syntax-pragmatics interface led me to exploring the grammar of interactional language, which in turn made it necessary for me to read broadly across various frameworks and to try and integrate insights from various frameworks.
This work led me more and more to explore how language is integrated with other cognitive capacities.
I believe that my work thus far is proof that the most important insights stem from crossing discipline and schools of thought.
I am now starting a new project, which I consider to be a logical continuation of my work thus far, albeit with a very different empirical focus. I started to explore what it means to interact with a machine.
The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.