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Department of Linguistics

Dr Hannah Gibson

BA(SOAS), MA(SOAS), PhD (SOAS)

Overview

Hannah Gibson
Department of Linguistics

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Name:
Dr Hannah Gibson
Email address:
Building:
21/22 Russell Square
Office No:
T316

Affiliations

  • Philological Society
  • Linguistics Association of Great Britain

Teaching

  • Dynamic Syntax (2013-14)
  • Intermediate Syntax, Department of Linguistics (2010-11) 
  • Intermediate Syntax, Department of Linguistics (2008-09)
  • Swahili I, Africa Department (2006-07)

Research

I am a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Linguistics. My current research examines grammatical change in six Bantu languages spoken in Kenya and Tanzania: Rangi, Mbugwe, Gusii, Kuria, Ngoreme and Suba-Simbiti. These languages all exhibit post-verbal auxiliary placement in restricted syntactic contexts. This feature is considered unusual from a typological and comparative perspective since SVO languages and East African Bantu languages most commonly exhibit auxiliary-verb order.


This project examines to what extent this feature (and others) can be considered to be the result of contact-induced language change, or whether they are more appropriately thought of as reflecting language-internal processes of grammaticalisation. The project explores what types of grammatical change are - and are not - possible with a view to better understanding the universal phenomenon of language change.


My doctoral research examined aspects of morphosyntax in the Tanzanian Bantu language Rangi. Despite otherwise Bantu-typical head-final syntax, Rangi is unusual in that it exhibits post-verbal auxiliary placement. My thesis "Auxiliary placement in Rangi: A Dynamic Syntax perspective" provides a descriptive account of this erstwhile under-described phenomenon in Rangi. The thesis also provides a formal analysis of this non-canonical constituent order from the perspective of the Dynamic Syntax theoretical framework.


Syntax, morphosyntax, African linguistics, Bantu languages, language contact, historical language change, multilingualism, syntax-semantics interface.