Born on May 23, 1947 in Sunderland (England). Study of linguistics, doctorate Univ. of Cambridge (1972), lecturer Univ. of Cambridge (1974), Associate Professor Univ. of Southern California/Los Angeles (1978), Professor Univ. of Southern California/Los Angeles (1981), Emeritus director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Honorary Professor of Linguistics Univ. of Leipzig (since 1999).