Martine Robbeets


Research Interests:

Comparative linguistics, historical linguistics, linguistic typology, areal linguistics language contact, morphology, grammaticalization theory, interdisciplinary research and linguistic prehistory

Languages of interest:

Turkic languages, Mongolic languages, Tungusic languages, Korean, Japanese, Ryukyuan languages, Ainu and Paleosiberian languages, languages of Europe and Asia in general.

About me:

Since I took up Japanese Studies as a student, I have been fascinated by the peculiar nature of the Japanese language and intrigued by the question of how the language became the way it is. This quest brought me to related languages and families such as Ryukyuan languages, Korean, the Tungusic languages, the Mongolic languages and the Turkic languages. According to my investigations, these languages descend from a common ancestral language, which I call “proto-Transeurasian”. My research also touches upon neighboring languages and families such as Ainu, Paleosiberian, Austronesian, Sino-Tibetan, and Uralic languages. In the past four years, I have been leading a collaborative research project “Die transeurasiatischen Sprachen: Kontakt in der Familie” funded by the German Research Foundation at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz (Germany). In this project, I established common verb morphology shared between Japanese and the Transeurasian languages, paying special attention to the distinction of inheritance and contact influence. My current interests are leading me to explore new directions in historical linguistics such as searching collaboration with phylogeneticists, population geneticists and archeologists. Combining the strengths of these disciplines will shed light on various questions relating to prehistoric human migrations in Northeast Asia


Dr. Martine Robbeets

Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena




Welcome !