Born in Feudingen by the river Lahn in Germany, I spent my childhood in the deep pine forests in the area called Wittgenstein and in the Clock & Jewelry store of my parents. I finished high school at the Gymnasium Schloss Wittgenstein and then studied three semesters of Chemistry at Bayreuth University.
After that, I moved to America. There, I first studied English because my school English was simply not enough to have deep conversations. During this time, my interest in sociolinguistics was peaked, but it was going to quite a while before I actually should study it.
For many years, I moved between America and Germany. One year here, two years there. Again a few years in America and then back again to Germany.
Only once our twins were already almost 5, did I begin to study sociolinguistics at Georgetown University. I finished my Masters and then received my PhD from Georgetown in Linguistics in 2002.
In 2007, I followed a call to Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, where I continue to work. Quite different from the deep pine forests of my childhood, the forests here are dotted with tree ferns.