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Department of Linguistics

Dr Hannah Gibson



Hannah Gibson
Department of Linguistics

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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


  • Philological Society
  • Linguistics Association of Great Britain


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


I am a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Linguistics. My current research examines grammatical change in four Bantu languages spoken in Kenya and Tanzania. Rangi, Mbugwe, Gusii and Kuria all have at least one syntactic feature which is considered atypical in the context of East African Bantu languages. This project examines to what extent these features can be considered to be the result of contact-induced language change, or whether they are more appropriately thought of as reflect 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. Rangi is unusual in that it exhibits post-verbal auxiliary placement despite otherwise Bantu-typical, head-final syntax. This is ordering of the auxiliary with regard to the main verb is marked from both a typological and comparative perspective and raises questions relating to language change, specifically grammaticalisation processes and language contact.

My thesis "Auxiliary placement in Rangi: A Dynamic Syntax perspective" provides a descriptive account of the erstwhile under-documented Bantu language Rangi spoken in the Kondoa District of Central Tanzania. The thesis also provides an examination of Rangi morphosyntax, with a focus on the non-canonical constituent order characteristic to Rangi, from the perspective of Dynamic Syntax (DS).

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