Dr Alexander Cobbinah

Key information

Leverhulme Post-Doctoral Fellow
21/22 Russell Square
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0) 207 898 4591


Alex Cobbinah graduated from the University of Cologne in 2008 with a Magister in Linguistics, African Studies and Sociology, and came to SOAS in the same year to start a PhD about noun classes and verbal nouns in Baïnounk Gubëeher, doing field research in the village of Djibonker in Casamance. 

During this time he was also part of Friederike Lüpke’s DoBeS project “Pots, plants and people” an interdisciplinary approach combining ethnobotany, linguistics and archaeology in Casamance with a focus on two of the major Baïnounk languages. From the first field trip on he has been very interested in the areal aspects of the languages spoken in that part of Casamance, therefore the language skills and familiarity with the language communities he acquired during the PhD were an excellent basis for further research on the social and multilingual patterns leading to language change in that particular area. 

As a postdoctoral researcher on the Crossroads team he currently investigates noun class phenomena and information structure in Gubëeher from an areal perspective and is looking at questions of identity and language maintenance in a complex multilingual environment. Details on the Crossroads project can be found here http://soascrossroads.org/

Research interests

For his Phd thesis Alexander Cobbinah documented and described aspects of the minority language Baïnounk Gubëeher (noun classes, verbalised nouns) and the local culture (plant knowledge, pottery) as a member of an interdisciplinary team in a DoBeS funded project led by Friederike Lüpke.  Alexander is currently working on multilingualism in rural Senegal in Friederike’s Leverhulme project “Crossroads”, together with Rachel Watson and Abbie Hantgan, focussing on the role of social networks and personal parameters on language choice and language change in Casamance/Senegal.


Contact Alexander