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My research is broadly concerned with the relationship between grammar, cognition and patterns of usage in language. What drives patterns of usage? How do these patterns shape the emergence of grammatical structures and categories over time? Does a language’s particular grammatical structures and categories influence how its speakers experience the world? In exploring these questions I try to bridge the research traditions of typological, historical, functional and psycholinguistics. My empirical work focuses mainly on indigenous languages of Meso- and South America, especially Yucatec Maya, a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, and Guambiano (also called Namtrik), a Barbacoan language spoken in the Andes in southwestern Colombia.