PhD Student in Linguistics

Picture of Siri doing fieldwork with an Eastern Jikany Nuer speaker

About Me

I am a PhD student at the department of Linguistics at the University of Leipzig working as a research assistant in the IGRA graduate program (Interaction of Grammatical Building Blocks).

I received my Master's degree at the Humboldt University of Berlin in Theoretical Linguistics and was supervised by Hubert Truckenbrodt and Manfred Krifka. I did my Bachelor in French and Spanish at the University of Oslo.

I have a passion for tone and a big interest for Bantu and Nilotic languages. Fieldwork is an important part of my work and in May and June 2017 I was in Ethiopia to work with Eastern Jikany Nuer speakers.

Research Interests

My main research interests are prosody and tone and their interfaces with morphology and syntax. I have mainly worked on Bantu languages (Makhuwa, Xitsonga, Bàsàa, Limbum) and the topic of my MA thesis was 'Downstep in Kikuyu'.

In this study, I analyzed Kikuyu downstep in the Edge-Based approach of Syntax-Phonology interface proposing a stratal OT analysis. In the empirical part of my work I did an acoustic analysis of recorded data. I am currently writing my PhD thesis on tone in Nuer. My main supervisors are Bert Remijsen and Jochen Trommer. My extended thesis committee consists of: Andrew Kostakis, Tamara Rathcke, and Eva Zimmermann.

Area of Expertise

  • Prosody, tone and phonology
  • The Syntax-Phonology Interface
  • Serial OT and Strata
  • Bantu Languages
  • Nilotic languages
  • Pseudo-coordination


  • Native: Norwegian
  • Fluent: English, German and Italian
  • Intermediate: French
  • Basic: Spanish, Russian


Proceedings & Working Papers

Cyclic Optimization of Floating L Tones in Kikuyu
Proceedings of NELS 46. GLSA: Amherst, 2016.
(updated version)
The interaction of lexical tone and phrase-level intonation in Limbum
[with Jude Nformi Awasom and Ludger Paschen] Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016, Boston, MA.
Sharing properties of pseudo-coordination in Norwegian
LAB93, Replicative Processes in Grammar, Leipzig, 2016.
Phonological phrases in Kikuyu
Bellamy, Kate, Elena Karvovskaya, Martin Kohlberger and George Saad, ed. 2016. ConSOLE XXIII: Proceedings of the 23rd Conference of the Student Organization of Linguistics in Europe (7-9 January 2015, Paris). Leiden: Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. ISSN: 1574-499X.

High tone spreading and phonological phrases in Bàsàá
[with Fatima Hamlaoui and Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso] In TAL-2014 , pp. 27-31.

Segmental aspects on tone: an acoustic analysis of tonal polarity in Xitsonga
[with Lee, Seunghun J.] In TAL-2014 , pp. 79-82.


MA Thesis

Downstep and Phonological Phrases in Kikuyu
2015, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Supervisors: Hubert Truckenbrodt and Manfred Krifka. (Revised version)








Summer term 2016

Instructor, Seminar in linguistic methods (with Ludger Paschen). Methoden der Phonetikanalyse. Linguistic department, Leipzig University.

Summer term 2017

Instructor, Block seminar on tone and fieldwork. Linguistic department, Addis Abeba University.