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Department of Linguistics

Dr Hannah Gibson



Hannah Gibson
Dr Hannah Gibson
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Thesis title:
Auxiliary placement in Rangi: A Dynamic Syntax perspective

PhD Research

My doctoral research examines 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).

DS is a parsing-oriented formal model of utterance description which aims to articulate and substantiate the claim that human knowledge of language is essentially the ability to parse spoken language in context.

To this ends, my research adds to the growing body of literature which examines Bantu languages, and Bantu morphosyntax in particular, as well as exploring and extending the tools of the DS theoretical framework.

PhD Publications

  • (Forthcoming) ‘Auxiliary placement in Rangi: A case of contact-induced change’, SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 13.

PhD Conferences

  • ‘Underspecification and update: The dynamics of auxiliary-main verb constructions in Swahili and Rangi’ (with Lutz Marten), May 2013, Approaches to Complex Predicates, Paris.
  • ‘The development and use of deictic particles in Rangi’, 7-9 April 2011, Fourth International Conference on Bantu Languages (B4ntu), Berlin.
  • ‘Modelling Rangi future constructions: A Dynamic Syntax perspective’, 29-31 August 2011, 41st Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics, Leiden.
  • ‘Futures past and present: head finality in Rangi’, September 2010, 19th International Postgraduate Linguistics Conference on Language Variation and Change, University of Manchester and University of Salford
  • ‘Back to the future: disharmonic syntax in Rangi’, August 2010, Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Meeting, Leeds.
  • ‘Disharmonic syntax in Bantu: The case of Rangi’, 23-25 August  2010, 40th Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics, Leiden.
  • ‘The structure of infinitives in Bantu TAM grammaticalisation’, 17-21 August 2009, 6th World Congress of African Linguistics (WOCAL 6), Cologne.


  • Student committee, Linguistics Association of Great Britain


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


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