I am Associate Professor of Historical Linguistics at the German section of the Linguistics Department at Ghent University. My scholarly interests range from historical and diachronic linguistics, particularly morphosyntactic variation and change including change in progress, to formal and corpus linguistics.
I obtained a PhD in Linguistics from Tilburg University (NL) in 2005 with a dissertation on the character, rise and fall of the afinite construction (finite auxiliary ellipsis) in Early New High German. From 2006 to 2009, I worked as a Research Associate on the AHRC funded project The development of negation in the languages of Europe at the University of Cambridge. One of my interests within that project was the development of negation in the history of Low German. My book summarising this research was published with OUP in 2014. Besides, two volumes have come out of that project: the first, "Case studies", came out with OUP in 2013, the second volume, "Patterns and processes" in March 2020. In 2010, I joined Ghent University as a postdoc. In 2013 I became assistant professor there, and in 2018, associate professor.
From 2014-2020, I was responsible (together with Liliane Haegeman and Veronique Hoste), for building a parsed Corpus of Historical Low German (CHLG) (funded by the Hercules Foundation and an FWO Medium-Size Infrastructure grant 2014-2020). From 1/2018-12/2019, I am the PI of a project building a Parsed Corpus of Southern Dutch Dialects (in its pilot phase funded by a FWO Research Grant / krediet aan navorser, and from June 2020 by an FWO Medium-Size Infrastructure grant (together with Jacques Van Keymeulen, Anne-Sophie Ghyselen, Melissa Farasyn, Timothy Colleman, and partners at the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities, the Meertens Institute, the Institute for the Dutch Language, and the University of Groningen).
Recent research and output
Together with Claudia Crocco, I am building a new research line on applying experimental methods to the study of language change in progress. To start, we have been awarded an FWO research project (2019-2023) on the influence of prosody on ongoing Jespersen's Cycle in Northern Italian dialects. I give an overview over some of my recent projects in my keynote lecture at DiGS 2021.
I have recently published two edited volumes, on "The Determinants of diachronic stabilty" (Benjamins 2019) and "Cycles in language change" (OUP 2019) (together with Miriam Bouzouita, Lieven Danckaert, Melissa Farasyn, and Elisabeth Witzenhausen), as well as a web-festschrift for Liliane Haegeman (together with Metin Bağrıaçık and Karen De Clercq).
I am the senior coordinator of the research group ΔiaLing, and head the faculty's working group on Digital Humanities. I serve the board of the Verein für Niederdeutsche Sprachforschung (VndS) as the editor of the Niederdeutsches Jahrbuch, and am a member of the editorial board of Taal & Tongval. From June 2020, I am nominated for the next four years as a member of the scientific advisory board (WeCo) of the Meertens Institute-KNAW.