My main goal is to understand the dynamics underlying linguistic diversity, from the beginning of the Holocene until today and further into the future. I use data from hundred to thousands of languages in order to distinguish, in the structure of languages, the consequences of contingent historical and demographic processes from consistent human biases towards or against learning, using or transmitting specific linguistic traits. In my work I combine data science with linguistic typology, evolutionary anthropology, computational social sciences, cultural evolution and the cognitive sciences. I regularly wrangle with small, sparse, incomplete, imbalanced, noisy and non-independent data (or s2i2n2 for short).
My research covers topics ranging from the emergence of creole languages, the nature word order patterns, pervasive sound-meaning associations, the adaptability of speech sound systems and the prehistory of worldwide linguistic diversity.
More recently, I have become interested in the application of insights from linguistic diversity into concrete issues involving (language-based) medicine, education and technology.
I am the 2019-2020 Maury Green Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. In addition, I am a research affiliate of the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (Germany), where I am also an external faculty to the IMPRS Ph.D. program. I also hold two external researcher positions, at the Linguistic Convergence Laboratory (HSE University, Russia) and the Human Relations Area Files (Yale University, USA).
Previously I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Comparative Linguistics Department at the University of Zürich (Switzerland). I received a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences from the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences while simultaneously I held an affiliation to the Department of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, both institutes from Leipzig (Germany). I obtained my B.Sc. in Physics and M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary and Statistical Physics from the Balseiro Institute in Bariloche (Argentina).