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, and I built a corpus of negative clauses in Middle Low German chancery documents. My book summarising this research was published with OUP in 2014.
Since moving to Ghent in January 2010, I have worked on the interaction between negation and modality (within the GIST project) and the development of the conditional use of modal verbs in West-Germanic (FWO grant #FWO12/PDO/014). On 1 October 2013, I became a professor for Historical German Linguistics at Ghent University.
Since 2014, I have been 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 was PI of a pilot project building a Parsed Corpus of Southern Dutch Dialects (with Jacques Van Keymeulen, Anne-Sophie Ghyselen, and Liliane Haegeman) (funded by a FWO Research Grant / krediet aan navorser).
Together with Claudia Crocco I am building a new research line on 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 dialect.
I am a member of the network project 'Morphosyntactic change through corpora in German and beyond' at the DAAD Research Hub for German Studies at Cambridge University (2016-2018), the FWO Scientific Research Network (WOG) "Historical Sociolinguistics" (lead: VUB). I serve on 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.