SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Karolina Grzech

  • Overview


Karolina Grzech
Karolina Grzech
Email address:
Thesis title:
Evidentiality in Tena (Lower Napo) Kichwa: a usage-based account
Internal Supervisors

External Supervisors

Richard Breheny (UCL)


Before joining SOAS, I studied social sciences in Poland, France and Argentina. I came to SOAS in 2010 to take an MA Language Documentation and Description. After graduating in 2011, I joined the PhD programme in Field Linguistics.

PhD Research

My PhD research focuses on the semantics and pragmatics of evidentiality in Lower Napo Kichwa (ISO-639:  quw), an endangered, under-described Quechuan variety spoken in the western part of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Those interested in how the language actually sounds can have a listen here. Most accounts suggest that the varieties belonging to the Quechuan language family employ a three-way distinction between direct, indirect and reported evidence. However, evidential markers are not obligatory, and their function is not limited to marking the source of evidence for one’s statement. I am mainly interested in how the Kichwa evidentials are used in natural discourse, and what this can tell us about the meaning and functions of evidentials in Kichwa, and about evidentiality as a theoretical notion.

My PhD project is generously supported a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme. This support makes it possible to create a documentation of the language, to be deposited with two archives: the Endangered Languages Archive, and the Archive of Languages and Cultures in Ecuador.

Other research interests

Apart from the above, my interests include language variation and change, multilingual education, and multilingualism in urban environments. I am also interested in the social grounding and implications of language documentation projects, and in how those can be turned into initiatives that would have a lasting, positive impact on their host communities.  I am one of the founders of the Language Landscape project, aimed at charting the global linguistic diversity and raising awareness of multilingualism and endangered languages.


  • Grzech, K. (forthcoming) Planning language, planning identity: A case study of Ecuadorians in London. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 16, 291-310.


  • 14-19/06/2013 Co-facilitator: Workshop on the use of ELAN in Language Documentation (as part of the team of the regional DoBeS Archive: Archive of Languages and Cultures of Ecuador); Pedagogy of Mother Earth Bachelor Programme for Indigenous Students, University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia.
  • 8-14/12/2013 Co-facilitator of workshop series on Language and the urban environment. Urban Transcripts 2013: London, the (n)ever changing city. London, UK.
  • 09/2012-06/2013 AHRC-funded Skills Development Scheme: Language Research and Teaching in the Multilingual World. Participant and Administrator
  • 11/07/2012 3L Junior Researchers Conference, Université Lumière Lyon 2, France Presented paper: “Language and Identity Construction in a Minority Community: Two Ecuadorian Perspectives.”
  • 11-12/01/2012 Facilitator and organiser of the workshop on multi-modal communication and gesture coding in ELAN for the representatives of five Ecuadorian minority language communities within the Gesture and Ideophone Project, with the involvement of Connie Dickinson, Mandana Seyffedinipur (SOAS) and Sotaro Kita (Birmingham).
  • 5-10/06/2011 Participant of the International Summer School 2011 – Four  Sociolinguistic Tandems, The LANCHART Centre, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Presented talk: Sociolinguistic aspects of conflict-induced migration:   The case of Awa Pit on the border of Colombia and Ecuador.