I hold the chair of General Linguistics and am department head in the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Bern. My current work focuses on morphological typology and grammatical voice, and my recent work has centered around morphosyntactic clause alignment, as well as benefaction and malefaction. I have specialized in the indigenous languages of the Americas (especially the Algonquian languages of North America and Mapudungun in the Southern Cone), but I am also very much interested in Basque, Insular Celtic, West Germanic, and Iberian Romance.

I also hold a degree in economics and worked for some years at Swiss Re, the largest Swiss reinsurer. I am very interested in literature — especially highbrow fiction in English and Spanish, well-written speculative fiction in any language, and many things related to 221B Baker Street. Lastly, I was a piano teacher and pianist from the late 1980s until the early 2000s.

Forthcoming publications

TO APPEAR

  • Basque antipassives revisited.
    Joint paper with Beatriz Fernández for a volume on antipassives edited by Katarzyna Janic, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich & Denis Creissels.

 

IN PREPARATION

  • Negation in Mapudungun.
    Paper for a volume on negation edited by Ljuba Veselinova & Matti Miestamo.
  • Words in indigenous North American languages.
    Paper for a volume on indigenous North American languages edited by Carmen Jany, Marianne Mithun & Keren Rice.

 

Recent and Current Research Projects

Linguistic morphology in time and space — South America

Duration:01.02.16–31.01.19
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (SINERGIA program)
Read more about this specific project
Read more about the overall SINERGIA project

A digital dictionary for the Blackfoot language

Duration: 01.01.15–30.12.17
Funding: Social Sciencies and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Read more

The Typology of Benefactives

Duration: 01.03.07–31.12.10
Funding: no special funding
Read more

Approaches to defining and analyzing semantic roles

Duration: 01.01.07–
Funding: no special funding
Read more

Alignment in Maku languages and the genetic and areal stability of alignment: A contribution to the typology of morphosyntactic organization

Duration: 01.01.04–31.12.04
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation

 

Teaching @ U Bern

FS 2020

  • Welsh II
  • Voice Theory
  • Linguistic Typology
  • Academic Writing for Linguists

HS 2019

  • Welsh I
  • Writing Systems
  • Semantics/Pragmatics
  • Topics in Language Description

Past teaching

University of Bern, Institute of Linguistics

  • Introduction to Syntax [fall 2013, fall 2015]
  • Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics [fall 2013, spring 2016, fall 2017]
  • Introduction to Typology [spring 2016, spring 2018]
  • Introduction to Typology I & II [fall 2013 – spring 2014]
  • Writing Linguistic Papers and Theses [spring 2015]
  • Basque I & II [fall 2013 – spring 2014, fall 2015 – spring 2016, fall 2018 – spring 2019]
  • Mapudungun I & II [fall 2014 – spring 2015]
  • Quechua I & II [fall 2017 – spring 2018]
  • Welsh (structure course) [fall 2016]
  • Algonquian Languages [fall 2014]
  • Celtic Languages [fall 2015, spring 2019]
  • North American languages [spring 2013, spring 2016, spring 2018]
  • South American languages [spring 2013, fall 2016, fall 2018]
  • Endangered Languages [spring 2014, fall 2016]
  • Ergativity [fall 2016]
  • Grammatical Voice [spring 2013, spring 2015, fall 2017]
  • History of Linguistics: Authors [fall 2015]
  • History of Western Linguistics [spring 2014, spring 2019]
  • Linguistic Relativity [fall 2014]
  • Nominal Hierarchies in the Languages of the World [spring 2013]
  • Syntactic Theories and Schools of Linguistics [fall 2018]
  • What is a Word? [fall 2014, spring 2018]
  • Writing Systems [spring 2015, fall 2017]

 

Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco (Spain)
Hizkuntzalaritza eta Euskal Ikasketak Saila / Departamento de Lingüística y Estudios Vascos [April 23-27, 2018]

  • Elements for a Qualitative Voice Typology

 

Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy)
Laboratorio di Linguistica [March 1-4, 2016]

  • Elements for a Qualitative Voice Typology

 

Universidad de Sonora (Mexico)
Departamento de Letras y Lingüística [November 3-7, 2014]

  • Elements for a Qualitative Voice Typology

 

Universidad Nacional de La Pampa (Argentina) [July 7-11, 2014]

  • Elements for a Qualitative Voice Typology

 

Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (Argentina) [June 30 - July 3, 2014]

  • Elements for a Qualitative Voice Typology

 

Stockholm University (Sweden)
Department of Linguistics, Visiting Erasmus lecturer [May 5-9, 2014]

  • Amerindian Languages
  • Grammatical Voice
  • Why There Are So Many Clitics

 

Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (Argentina) [May 14, 2013]

  • Voice Typology

 

University of Helsinki (Finland)
Department of Modern Languages, Visiting Erasmus lecturer [April 22-26, 2013]

  • Semantic and Pragmatic Inversion in Amerindian Languages
  • Pragmatic Voice in the Languages of the World
  • What, if Anything, is Polysynthesis?

 

University of Zurich
Department of Comparative Linguistics

  • Endangered Languages (together with Giorgio Banti) [spring 2007]
  • Introduction to Comparative Linguistics I & II [spring 2000–spring 2002; fall 2007–fall 2011]
  • Introduction to North American Languages (proseminar & directed reading) [fall 1999]
  • The Languages of South America [spring 2012]
  • Modern Philosophy of Language (together with Mathias Jenny) [fall 2007]
  • Semantics & Pragmatics [spring 2007–spring 2011]
  • The Structures of Mapudungun [spring 2012]

 

University of Zurich
Romance Languages Department

  • Linguistic Introduction to Mapudungun [spring 2008]

 

University of Leipzig (Germany)
Linguistics Department

  • Introduction to South American Languages [spring 2003]

 

University of Cambridge (UK)
Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Visiting Erasmus lecturer [May 07-11, 2007]

  • An Introduction to Chilean Spanish
  • The Amerindian Neighbors of Chilean Spanish
  • Chilean Spanish and its Romance Neighbors

 

Theses (co-)supervised since 2012

Ph.D. theses (co-)supervised (current)

  • Florian Matter: A typological account of the verbal morphology of Cariban languages
  • Dominique Knuchel: A grammatical description of Kogi (Arwako-Chibchan; Colombia)
  • Jean Rohleder: A grammar of Vamale (Oceanic; New Caledonia)

Ph.D. theses (co-)supervised (completed)

  • [co-supervision: Belén Villena (U Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona): Innovación léxica en mapudungún: productividad, genuinidad y planificación [= Lexical innovation in Mapudungun: Productivity, genuineness and planning], October 2016]
  • Charitini Karadamou: The phonetics and phonology of Amawaka (Panoan; Peru), September 2016
  • Steffen Haurholm-Larsen: A grammar of Garifuna (Arawak; Honduras), September 2016
  • [co-supervision: Mario Della Costanza (U Zurich): La marcación diferencial del objeto en español: ¿una construcción con varios significados? [= Differential Object Marking in Spanish: A construction with several meanings?], December 2014]
  • [co-supervision: Marius Zemp: A historical grammar of the Tibetan dialect spoken in Kargil (Purik), December 2014]
  • [co-supervision: Jiāng Lì 姜儷: A grammar of Guìqióng (Qiangic; Sichuan), December 2013]

M.A. theses supervised (completed)

  • Florian Matter: Referential density and preferred argument structure in Mapudungun narrative texts, December 2015
  • Olivia Reuteler: Du- und Sie-Kulturen in Unternehmen und der Einfluss auf das Verhältnis zum Vorgesetzten [= Du and Sie cultures in firms and the influence upon the relationship to one’s superior], July 2015
  • Naoki Peter: Hiatus resolution in Blackfoot, December 2014
  • Mirjam Beck (U Zurich): Argument indexing in Muskogean languages: A predicate-class approach, December 2013
  • Silvana Camenisch: Differentielle Objektmarkierung im Mapudungun. Eine Untersuchung anhand narrativer Texte [=Differential Object Marking in Mapudungun. A narrative-based investigation], December 2013

Fernando Zúñiga — Editorial activity

International Journal of American Linguistics (IJAL)

Together with David Beck from the University of Alberta, I serve as editor of this journal at The University of Chicago Press.

If you would like to inquire about the prospects of publishing your article in this journal, please visit the page linked below; you can also contact David Beck or myself via e-mail for more information.

IJAL website @ U of Chicago Press

Typological Studies in Language (TSL)

Together with Spike Gildea from the University of Oregon, I serve as series editor of this book series at John Benjamins. TSL is a companion series to the journal Studies in Language; volumes in this series are functionally and typologically oriented.

If you would like to inquire about the prospects of publishing your monograph or edited volume in this series, please visit the third page linked below; you can also contact Spike Gildea or myself via e-mail for more information.

Book series @ John Benjamins
TSL website @ John Benjamins
Guidelines and instructions for submission to TSL @ John Benjamins

Linguistic Typology (LT)

I am a member of the editorial board of this journal at De Gruyter. If you would like to inquire about the prospects of publishing your paper or review in this venue, please visit the link below. The responsible editor is Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm (Stockholm University, Sweden).

LT website

Studies in Diversity Linguistics

I am a member of the editorial board of this series at Language Science Press. If you would like to inquire about the prospects of publishing your monograph or edited volume in this series, please visit the link below. The responsible editor is Martin Haspelmath (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany).

SiDL website

Línguas Indígenas Americanas (LIAMES)

I am a member of the evaluating committee of this journal published by the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). If you would like to inquire about the prospects of publishing your paper or review in this venue, please visit the link below. The responsible editors are Lucy Seki and Ángel Corbera Mori (both from UNICAMP, Brazil).

LIAMES website