25.05.2015 - 19:42
A  A

Department of Linguistics

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 300
fax: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 333

e-mail: cissewski@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Documentation and Description

Today about 6,500 languages are spoken world-wide, most of them are endangered. A quarter of the world's languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers, and many of them are already moribund (no longer learnt by children). To preserve or at least document as many languages as possible, members of the department are investigating indigenous languages on all continents. [more]

Typological Surveys

We are interested in finding out what properties are common to all human languages ("language universals") and the ways in which languages can differ from each other ("linguistic typology"). Beyond this, we aim to answer the question why language universals and cross- linguistic variation are the way they are. To this end, we study various linguistic phenomena across a wide range of languages. [more]

Language History

One of the central reasons why languages differ is because they  change. The history of such changes can be reconstructed by comparing  different languages and interpret the differences as the result of  change. We investigate (quantitative) methods to help interpret  differences. As not all changes are equally likely to occur in the  history of language, the study of the limits of change will enhance  our efforts to reconstruct "family trees" for the world's languages. [more]

Language Contact

One of the difficulties of establishing "family trees" for the world's languages is that languages are in constant interaction with each other, and often change dramatically in response to such contact. Not only words can be borrowed from other languages, also sound and complex grammatical structures can be exchanged. Various research projects in our department investigate linguistic processes of contact to gain a better understanding of their impact on the history and development of languages. [more]

Phonetics and Phonology

The sounds of the world's languages show a large variability, but still they are all produced by roughly the same articulatory apparatus and perceived by roughly the same ears all over the world. We investigate the available diversity, but also try to account for the many recurrent regularities. [more]

Jakarta Field Station

The Field Station's primary purpose is to collect large corpora of naturalistic language data. The three main research projects focus on Language Contact in Indonesia, Language Description, and the Acquisition of Jakarta Indonesian. [more]

Past Research

Finished projects, discontinued projects, and projects of former staff. [more]