Universiteit Leiden

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Michaël Peyrot

Professor Comparative Indo-European Linguistics

Prof.dr. M. Peyrot
+31 71 527 4177

Michaël Peyrot is Professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics.

More information about Michaël Peyrot


Michaël Peyrot’s research focuses on the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European, in particular the verbal system, and on language contact and prehistory, especially in the Tocharian, Iranian and Indic branches. The leading question is how language contact can be used to draw conclusions about linguistic prehistory. More broadly, he is intrigued by the question how languages have come to be as they are. For instance, how do different changes in a language correlate, i.e. how do changes in e.g. consonants and vowels, or in phonology and morphology, or in different morphological categories interact? How does language contact influence linguistic change? Which causes are there to language spread, language split and language death?

Research interests

  • Comparative Indo-European Linguistics
  • Language Contact and Prehistory
  • Verbal morphology
  • Tocharian, Iranian, Indic
  • Central Asian Buddhism and Turkic

Teaching (selection)

  • Indo-European Verb
  • Language and the Human Past
  • Reading Vedic texts
  • Readings in Indo-European Linguistics
  • Tocharian

Academic functions and training

  • 2023– present: Professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at Leiden University
  • 2022: Associate Professor at Leiden University
  • 2016–2022: Assistant Professor at Leiden University
  • 2014-2016: Postdoctoral researcher at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin, with the Marie Curie project Niya Tocharian: Language contact and prehistory on the Silk Road. 
  • 2011-2014: Postdoctoral researcher for A Comprehensive Edition of Tocharian Manuscripts at the University of Vienna, Austria.
  • 2009 - present: Editor of Tocharian and Indo-European Studies.
  • 2005-2010: Teacher / researcher at Leiden University
  • 2004-2010: PhD student at Leiden University with The Tocharian subjunctive, supervised by Prof. Lubotsky (defence 28 September 2010, cum laude)
  • 2004-2007: Contributor to the British Library International Dunhuang Project and the TITUS  Tocharica Project at Frankfurt University.
  • 2001-2002: Editorial assistant of Cognitive Linguistics.
  • 1999-2004: MA Comparative Indo-European Linguistics, Leiden University (MA thesis Variant forms in Tocharian B; cum laude)
  • 1993-2003: MA Dutch language and literature, Leiden University (MA thesis on argumentation). 

Funded projects

PhD students

Memberships and cooperations

  • Cooperation partner of the “Sino-Indo-Iranica rediviva – Early Eurasian migratory terms in Chinese and their cultural implications” of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr, University of Zurich.
  • Member of the Young Academy of Europe (2017–2023).
  • Chercheur associé of the Unité Mixte de Recherche 7528, “Mondes iranien et indien”, of the CNRS / EPHE / Sorbonne Nouvelle / INALCO, Paris, France (2015–2019).
  • Member of the Advisory Council of the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (since 2017).
  • Collaborator of “A Comprehensive Edition of Tocharian Manuscripts” (CEToM) of Prof. Dr. Melanie Malzahn, University of Vienna (2011–2014; since 2014 external).

Editorial tasks

  • Co-editor of Tocharian and Indo-European Studies (since 2011, volume 12)
  • Co-editor of a.o. two Festschrifts, a conference proceedings, and Emil Sieg: Tocharologica

Professor Comparative Indo-European Linguistics

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 2.21



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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