As a linguist, I am interested in multilingualism – how, when and why people use various languages at the same time and how this changes the languages they use. These questions occupy me as an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at The University of Hong Kong. I have also been looking at how new languages arise, and have written a descriptive Grammar of Pichi, a West African creole language. Much of my work involves field research, recording and analyzing language as it is naturally spoken by people.
Before turning to academia, I coordinated the Africa desk of the human rights organization FIAN International, which stands up worldwide for the Right to Food, and against the man-made causes of hunger. Later, I joined the team of a Green Party MP in the German Parliament, assisting him in his work on rural development and global justice.
Other than that, I have a long-standing passion for the performing arts. Under the artist name of "linguist", I formed the rap band Advanced Chemistry together with four childhood friends in Heidelberg, Germany in 1987, and we released a series of CDs and music videos in the 1990s. Since those days I have been keeping myself busy as a playwright, author, cultural commentator and discussion host every now and then.