I am a linguistic typologist working with phylogenetic methods for studying language diversity. My current research adds this angle to the SFB 1102 IDeaL project in order to explain cross-linguistic patterns in information distribution.

This research program spans from work on inferring phylogenetic relationships
 (phylogenetic trees)…

  • for example, on the Dravidian language family, see here;
  • for a recent paper on accounting for reticulation when inferring phylogenies, see here;

    …to using these trees to do quantitative typology using phylogenetic comparative methods. I have worked on a variety of topics using these methods, among others;

    • on motion event encoding, see my PhD thesis;
    • on numeral typology, see here, I am also involved in Numeralbank, a work in progress containing information on the numeral systems of 1000s of languages;
    • on the ecology of language diversity, joining Chris Bentz, see here and here;
    • recent work that will hopefully appear soon includes work on Bantu gender systems with Francesca Di Garbo  and work on Indo-European negative existential constructions with Shahar Shirtz.

    But I have worked on other topics too:

    • see here for the presentation of BDPROTO, a database comprising phonological inventory data from 257 ancient and reconstructed languages, including a case study on rates of change of consonantal and vocalic systems;
    • see here for a paper on modeling vocabulary using approximate Bayesian computation, methodology usually employed in population genetics;
    • and see here  for a study on source and goal marking in various European languages

    Some of these papers can be found on one of the outlets below. If you need a copy of something and can’t find it, please write to me.


    You can find some videos by me here:


    Contact: annemarie.verkerk[at]uni-saarland.de