Documentation and description of various languages of Myanmar and Thailand, with a focus on Austroasiatic (Mon, Palaungic), Tai (Shan, Thai), and Burmese varieties. Language contact and language use in different communities, including diachronic data where available. The overall aim of the research is to understand the dynamics of cultural and social interactions in the area as reflected in the languages and their development.

Research Projects

  • Htanaw (Danau; Austroasiatic, southern Shan State) language description and literacy project (more on Htanaw orthography development here and about Htanaw language here)

  • The typology of Austroasiatic languages (more here)

  • Areal phenomena and minority languages in Southeast Asia (more here)

  • Mon Grammar (more here)

  • Myanmar as a linguistic area between South and Southeast Asia (SNSF sponsored project 2014-2018, more here)

  • Verb-initial clauses in Austroasiatic (SNSF sponsored project 2018-2021, more here)

Beyond linguistics

The people behind the languages, their cultures, literature and music, as well as their everyday lives. To understand and be able to describe what's going on in any language you have to understand the people who speak the language. Therefore I don't see linguistic work as a purely theoretical discipline (although theory and discipline are prerequisites to do linguistics) or language as a goal in itself, but rather as a way and means of reaching other goals. Field work therefore is an important part of my work. More about Mon literature can be found here, an example of Khün literature from eastern Shan State here.

နဟိ ဝေရေန ဝေရာနိ သမ္မန္တီဓ ကုဒါစနံ၊ အဝေရေနစ သမ္မန္တိ သ ဓမ္မော သနန္တနော။

Na hi verena verāni sammanthīda kudācanaṃ, averena ca sammanti esa dhammo sanantano. (Dhp. 5)