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Researcher's projects

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the ARC Laureate project 'Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity', led by Prof. Nick Evans, I will primarily focus on Idi, a language from the Pahoturi River Family spoken in the Morehead District of Southern New Guinea. Mainly through intermarriage, Idi is in close and stable contact with Nen, one of the two other SNG languages studied within the project, but belongs to a different language family. Because Idi is scarcely documented, the first field trip in September-October 2014 will chiefly focus on data gathering for grammatical description and analysis, but at the same time I will be on the lookout for possibly socially conditioned variation across different groups within the community, whether defined by gender, age, or place in society. I will also consider language contact and multilingualism and the role they play in language use by a variety of speakers.


After a BA in Dutch Language and Culture at Utrecht University, I did a research MA in Linguistics at University of Amsterdam; my thesis was a sociolinguistic study focusing on the use of discourse markers and style shifting in the construction of identity by adolescents of Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan background. I continued with a PhD at James Cook University, Cairns, which entailed a reference grammar of Paluai, an Oceanic language spoken on Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Based on two lengthy field trips, the grammar covers various aspects of the language including phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, semantics and discourse/pragmatics. While mainly focusing on synchronic language description, I was at the same time interested in variation across the community: which social factors would come into play here and to what extent. Another area of specific interest were language contact phenomena in Paluai, in particular through contact with Tok Pisin, the creole serving as lingua franca in most parts of PNG.

Research interests

Language variation and change; sociolinguistics; languages of Oceania and Melanesia; discourse and pragmatics; the link between language, culture and the mind



Expertise Areas

  • Pacific Languages
  • Discourse and Pragmatics
  • Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
  • Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)


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