Current Position

Postdoctoral fellow
University of Oslo; Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies


j.v.klok [at]

Research Interests

I’m interested in the cross-linguistic articulation of syntax and semantics, especially on TAM (tense-aspect-modal) markers. Within syntax, I’ve been focusing on how how movement and ellipsis phenomena such as VP-topicalization or VP-ellipsis shed light on the syntax of the extended VP projection. Within semantics, I am interested in establishing the basic semantics of TAM markers within the context of cross-linguistic research, such as how to distinguish a perfect marker from ‘already’ from past tense. For more info, see my research page.

I primarily work on Javanese, a Western Malayo-Polynesian language of the Austronesian family spoken by over 90 million people in Indonesia. I have been conducting fieldwork in Indonesia yearly since 2010, focusing on the varieties spoken in Semarang, Central Java, and Paciran, East Java.

Language documentation and preservation is another issue that is very important to me. There are almost 6000 languages in the world, but researchers estimate that around half of these languages are endangered, or nearly extinct (  Beyond the multitude of languages, there is an amazing amount of dialects, many of which have never been documented or researched. This is one of the reasons why I find researching Javanese to be so rewarding: only the ‘standard’ variety of Javanese (as spoken in the courtly centers of Yogyakarta and Surakarta/Solo) is mainly studied or taught, not the many dialects, which are highly different. Furthermore, current research suggests that Javanese is undergoing language loss, and moving towards language endangerment despite its huge number of speakers. See my page on Javanese for links on this language as well as a current list of linguistic study references.


Paciran, East Java, Indonesia; June 2011