Affiliation: Center for Advanced Studies ‘Words, Bones, Genes, Tools’, University of Tübingen, DE

Keywords: General Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Language Contact, Linguistic Typology, Andean Linguistics, Human Prehistory


ORCID: 0000-0001-7633-7433

Matthias Urban received undergraduate and graduate training in linguistics at the University of Cologne and the department of linguistics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

His postdoctoral work at Leiden University in the Netherlands focused on the historical linguistics of the Central Andes and sought to investigate the use of different types of linguistic information –the areal distribution of linguistic features, place and personal names, substrate effects, other contact phenomena including lexical and grammatical borrowing, and the spread of language families–as windows to the prehistory of this culture area.

Emphasizing the need to interpret the linguistic record against an interdisciplinary background, he continues to pursue this approach as principal investigator of the Junior Research Group “The languages of the Central Andes” (funded by the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether Program) and a project that explores linguistic evidence for the prehistoric spread of cultivated plants in northwestern South America (funded by the Daimler and Benz foundation).

He is (co)-author of numerous articles that have appeared in prestigious linguistics journals or interdisciplinary outlets, and has produced three full length monographs, one of which written in an accessible non-technical style and directed at a broader audience in the humanities.