Sebastian Drude has been appointed as the new head of the The Language Archive. He succeeds Peter Wittenburg, who is acting as TLA’s senior advisor from now on.

The succession of Peter Wittenburg has been approved in December 2012 by TLA’s steering board, composed of representatives of the three organizations that jointly fund TLA’s core positions, viz. Wolfgang Klein (representing the institute and the Max-Planck-Society), Angela Storrer (representing the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences), and Theo Mulder (representing the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences).

TLA’s new head, Sebastian Drude, has been a field linguist for the longest time of his career so far, with long-standing interest in and contributions to language documentation, linguistic typology and language technology.

After obtaining a Magister Artium (1997, Freie Universität Berlin), he started studying the Awetí language (Tupí, in the Upper Xingu, Central Brazil) with a DAAD grant. From 2001 to 2005 he was the principal researcher in a DOBES (Documentation of Endangered Languages, Volkswagenstiftung) project on Awetí. In 2002 he obtained his Dr.Phil.-degree at the Freie Universität Berlin, with a thesis about Lexicography.

From 2008 to 2011 he held a Dilthey-Fellowship at the Institute for Comparative Linguistics at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. In 2012 he obtained the German venia legendi in Linguistics at University Frankfurt, where he is also affiliated as Privatdozent.

After many years acting mainly at the Museu Goeldi (a research institute of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology) in Belém do Pará, Sebastian Drude joined TLA and the Max-Planck-Institute in October 2011, where he has been working as the Scientific Coordinator.

Sebastian Drude and the entire TLA-Staff would like to acknowledge the meticulous work of TLA’s former head Peter Wittenburg and thank him for all the work he has done over the decades he was heading the MPI’s technical group and built up what now is TLA. The existence of TLA getting growing funding over so many years, and its establishment as a separate unit are his merit.

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