I'm currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the FWO (Research Foundation - Flanders).
My research focuses on morphosyntactic change in Germanic, combining perspectives from syntactic theory with quantitative and corpus-based approaches. I am particularly interested in the syntax-information structure interface, and how diachronic language change can be modelled using the architecture of Lexical-Functional Grammar.
I received my PhD on expletives and syntactic change in Icelandic from the University of Manchester in 2018, supervised by Prof. Kersti Börjars and Dr Tina Breban. I was also previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on the syntactic annotation for the Corpus of Historical Low German project, and a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer in the group of Prof. Miriam Butt at the University of Konstanz.
Some of my research interests:
Syntactic optionality in North and West Germanic: insights from the history of Icelandic and Low German
- This is my FWO-funded Postdoctoral Research project (2021-2024), promoted by Prof. Anne Breitbarth.
- You can read more about it here.
Clause structure, expletives and information structure in the history of Icelandic
In my PhD thesis (2018, University of Manchester), I presented a diachronic account for the emergence of expletives in Icelandic from the earliest texts to the present day. This development was set against the backdrop of Icelandic clause structure, with particular attention to verb-second, information structure and the left periphery. See also here and here.
As I showed, the development of expletives is intimately connected with other changes and my work has fed into a wider collaboration with Christin Schätzle (University of Konstanz). Together, we have developed a theoretical analysis within LFG for how the syntactic encoding of information structure changed over time in Icelandic, prompting a series of changes with respect to e.g. verb position, subject position, dative subjects and expletives. See e.g. here, here and here.
I have also explored the issue of gradient configurationality in relation to the history of Icelandic in a recent paper.
Together with Kim Groothuis (UGent), I am convening a workshop on Expletives at the Syntax-Discourse interface at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE, 29 Aug – 1 Sept 2023).
Visual and quantitative methods for investigating syntactic change
I am interested in state-of-the-art methodologies for investigating syntactic change. As a guest researcher at Konstanz on project D02 of SFB-TRR 161 Evaluation Metrics for Visual Analytics in Linguistics, I explored with colleagues how visualisation methodologies can make the workflow of the historical linguist more efficient and yield deeper insights of the data, see e.g. here. We are now exploring how visual analytics can be useful in the annotation of problems such as ambiguity and uncertainty in historical linguistic data, see e.g. here and here.
I also have experience in corpus development: as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Corpus of Historical Low German (CHLG), I annotated Middle Low German texts to be included in a Penn-style treebank designed to facilitate future corpus-based syntactic studies of this underexplored language stage. You can read more on the background for the corpus in this paper here.
Germanic possession from a comparative perspective
- I have recently been collaborating with Alexandra Rehn (University of Konstanz) to conduct a comparative study on the possessor linking construction (dem Mann sein Haus) across Germanic varieties, with insights from Middle Low German corpus data and Alemannic dialect surveys.
- See recent presentations here and here.