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- Director, Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (since 1997)
- Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of California
Santa Barbara (since 2002)
- Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Leipzig (since
- Member, Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig (since 1999)
- Corresponding Fellow, British Academy (since 1999)
- Foreign Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences (since 2000)
- Honorary Doctor of Letters, La Trobe University, Australia
- Member, Academia Europaea (since 2006)
- Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (since 2007)
- Honorary Member, Cercle Linguistique de Prague (since 2008)
- Corresponding Scientist, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (National Council of Scientific and Technological Research), Argentina (since 2008)
- Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Uppsala University, Sweden
- Honorary Doctor, Atma Jaya Catholic University, Indonesia
- Honorary Fellow, Institute of African and Asian Studies, University of Khartoum, Sudan (2011)
University of Cambridge: Modern and Medieval Languages
University of Cambridge: Linguistics
Junior Research Fellow, King's College, Cambridge
Senior Assistant in Research, Department of Slavonic Studies, University
University Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Cambridge
Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Southern California, Los
Professor of Linguistics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Director, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Leipzig
Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of California Santa
Visiting positions (selected)
Visiting Fellow, Department of Linguistics, School of General Studies, Australian National University, Canberra (July-December)
Visiting Professor, Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan (September 1993 - July 1994)
Courses taught (since 2001)
- Languages of the World (General Education course)
- Linguistic Structures (Tsez)
Typology and Universals (various levels)
- Introduction to Syntax
- Syntax Beyond the Clause
- Areal Typology
- Languages and Genes
- Languages of Siberia
- Languages of the Caucasus
- Typology of Alignment Systems
- Typology of Causative Constructions
- Typology of Ditransitive Constructions
- Typology of Numeral Systems
PhD committees chaired
- Christidis, Anastasios Phoebus (Univ. of Cambridge, 1977): Adverbials: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Transformational Generative Grammar
- Frommer, Paul Robert (USC, 1981): Postverbal Phenomena in Colloquial Persian Syntax
- Randriamasimanana, Charles (USC, 1981): A Study of the Causative Constructions of Malagasy
- Thorpe, Maner (USC, 1983): Ryukyuan Language History
- Bock, Sylvia Martina (USC, 1984): Fronting in Caribbean Creoles
- Kim, Alan Hyun-Oak (USC, 1985): The Grammar of Focus in Korean Syntax and its
- Matsumoto, Keiji (USC, 1985): A Study of Tense and Aspect in Japanese
- Towtong, Pachongkarn (USC, 1985): Syntactic Areal Classification of Southeast Asian Languages
- Bowe, Heather Joan (USC, 1987): Categories, Constituents and Constituent Order in Pitjantjatjara
- Davies, H. John (Univ. of Cambridge, 1987): Kobon Syntax
- Matthews, Stephen James (USC, 1990): A Cognitive Approach to the Typology of Verbal Aspect
- Mutaka, Ngessimo Mathe (USC, 1990; co-chair: Larry M. Hyman): The Lexical Tonology of Kinande
- Shanklin, Michael Trevor (USC, 1990): The Grammar of Negation in Middle English
- Boyle, Mary Patricia (USC, 1991): Variation in Levels of Language: A Study of Politeness Patterns in Japanese
- Müller-Gotama, Franz (USC, 1991): A Typology of the Syntax–Semantics Interface
- Horie, Kaoru (USC, 1993): A Cross-Linguistic Study of Perception and Cognition Verb -Complements: A Cognitive Perspective
- Kim, Jeongdal (USC, 1993): The Serial Verb Construction in Korean
- Petrucci, Peter (USC, 1993): Slavic Features in the History of Rumanian
- Apresjan, Valentina (USC, 1995): Emotions: Linguistic Representation and Cultural Conceptualization
- Kim, Kyungan (USC, 1995): Causativity in Korean: Syntactic Causative, Control, and Purpose
- Paus, Charles (USC, 1997): A Comparison of the Sociolinguistic Conditioning of Phonetic Reduction in Moscow Russian and Northwestern Mexican Spanish
- Chodorowska-Pilch, Marianna (USC, 1998; co-chair: Carmen Silva-Corvalán): Encoding of Politeness in Spanish and Polish: A Cross-Linguistic Study
- Sadanandan, Suchitra (USC, 1998; co-chair: Alicja Gorecka): Malayalam Phonology: An Optimality-Theoretic Account
- Aldai, Gontzal (USC, 2002; co-chair: John A. Hawkins): The Grammaticalization of Present and Past Non-Imperfective in Historical Basque
- Velupillai, Viveka (Kath. Univ. Nijmegen, 2002; co-chair: Pieter Muysken): The Tense– Mood–Aspect System of Hawai‘i Creole English
- Sakel, Jeanette (Kath. Univ. Nijmegen, 2003; co-chair; Pieter Muysken): A Grammar of Mosetén
- Sonnenschein, Aaron Huey (USC, 2004; co-chair: John A. Hawkins): A Descriptive Grammar of Zoogocho Zapotec
- Chan, Angel (U of Leipzig, 2007; co-chairs: Michael Tomasello, Elena Lieven): The Acquisition of the Transitive Construction: Methodological and Cross-Linguistic Perspectives
- Pakendorf, Brigitte (U of Leiden, 2007; co-chair: Frederik Kortlandt): Contact in the Prehistory of the Sakha (Yakuts): Linguistic and Genetic Perspectives
- Khalilova, Zaira (U of Leiden, 2009; co-chair: Frederik Kortlandt): A Grammar of Khwarshi.
- Forker, Diana (U of Leipzig, 2011): A Grammar of Hinuq.
Guest lectures and conference presentations in the following countries
UK, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden,
Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania,
Russia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Tunisia, Sudan, Cameroon, USA, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea.
Membership of professional associations
- Association for Linguistic Typology (first President, 1995–99)
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (German Society for Linguistics)
- Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen (Society for Endangered Languages)
- International Association of Maltese Linguistics (Vice-President)
- International Pragmatics Association
- Linguistics Association of Great Britain
- Linguistic Society of America
- Philological Society
- Societas Linguistica Europaea (President, 2008)
- Société Finno-Ougrienne
- Society for Caribbean Linguistics
Membership of editorial boards
- Bespis´mennye Jazyki Dagestana, Serija "Nacional´no-Russkie Slovari" [Unwritten
Languages of Daghestan, Series "National-Russian Dictionaries"] (Russian Academy of
- Cambridge University Press: Studies in Linguistics
- Empirical Approaches to Language Typology (Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin) (co-editor)
- Ilsienna (International Association of Maltese Linguistics)
- Iranian Journal of Applied Language Studies (Honorary member)
- Language and Linguistics (Academia Sinica)
- Letopis (Sorbian Institute)
- Lingue e Linguaggio
- Logos and Language
- London Oriental Language Library (Benjamins, Amsterdam)
- Mouton Grammar Library (Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin) (co-editor)
- North-West European Language Evolution
- Serie Lingüística (Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Mexico)
- Studies in Language (co-managing editor 1991–2011)
- Studies in Language Companion Series (Benjamins, Amsterdam)
- Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics (Rodopi, Amsterdam)
- Typological Studies in Language (Benjamins, Amsterdam)
- Understanding Language (Hodder Education) (co-editor)
Former editorial board memberships include: Australian Journal of Linguistics, Corpora, Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of Slavic Linguistics, Language, Routledge Descriptive Grammars, and Second Language Research.
Externally funded research projects
- "Linguistic Typology of the Non-Slavic Languages of the Soviet Union". Principal
investigator. King's College, Cambridge. Funded by Social Science Research
Council, London. 1975-78. £13,209.
- "Description of the Wiyaw Language of Papua New Guinea". Principal Investigator.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Funded by National Science
Foundation. 1985-86. $83,861.
- "A Framework for Descriptive Grammar". Co-Principal Investigator (with William Croft, University of Michigan). University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Funded by National Science Foundation 1990–93. $64,893.
- "A Descriptive Grammar of Tsez". Co-Principal Investigator (with Maria Polinsky).
University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Funded by National Science
Foundation 1993–96. $139,228.
- "Altai-Sayan Language and Ethnography Project (Tofa Project)". (Researchers: David Harrison, Gregory Anderson, Sven Grawunder.) Funded by the Volkswagen-
Stiftung 2002–2005. €588,300.
- "Documentation of Cashinahua: Animacy and Mythology in Huni Kuin (Cashinahua), a Study of Linguistic and Cognitive Categorization in a Panoan Language".
(Researchers: Eliane Camargo, Philippe Erikson.) Funded by the Volkswagen-
Stiftung 2006–09. €299,800.
- "Ditransitive Konstruktionen in den Sprachen der Welt" ["Ditransitive Constructions in
the Languages of the World"] Co-Principal Investigator (with Martin Haspelmath). Part of Forschergruppe [Research Consortium] "Grammatik und
Verarbeitung verbaler Argumente" ["Grammar and Processing of Verbal
Arguments"]. University of Leipzig/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Anthropology/Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Behavioral
Sciences. Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 2006–09.
- "Documentation of Enets: Digitization and Analysis of Legacy Field Materials and
Fieldwork with Last Speakers". (Researchers: Olesya Khanina, Andrej Shluinsky)
Funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, School of
Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2008–11. £128,188.
- "Syntaktische Verbklassen in den Sprachen der Welt" ["Syntactic Verb Classes in the
Languages of the World"] Co-Principal Investigator (with Martin Haspelmath).
(Researchers: Andrej Malchukov, Søren Wichmann.) Part of Forschergruppe
[Research Consortium] "Grammatik und Verarbeitung verbaler Argumente" ["Grammar and Processing of Verbal Arguments"]. University of Leipzig/Max
Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology/Max Planck Institute for Human
Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences. Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Major administrative assignments
- National Science Foundation Linguistics Panel, Fall 1987–Spring 1990.
- Linguistic Society of America Nominating Committee, 1988–1990 (Chair 1990);
Honorary Members Committee, 1995–1997 (Chair 1997).
- University of Southern California, Department of Linguistics, Chair, 1990–93, 1994–96.
- European Science Foundation, Program in Language Typology, Scientific Advisory
Committee (1990–94); also Chair of Core Group (1993–94).
- Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), Leiden University, International Advisory Board, 1997–2001.
- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Comité National, Section 34, France,
- Linguapax Institute (International Advisory Board, since 2001).
- European Science Foundation, Program "Origin of Man, Language and Languages",
Chair of Scientific Forum, 2003–2008.
- Sorbian Institute, Bautzen, Germany, Scientific Advisory Board, 2004– (Chair 2009–).
- European Research Council, Advanced Investigator Grant, Chair of Panel SH4 (The
Human Mind and its Complexity: Cognition, Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy
and Education), 2008-2012 (even years).