SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Chesea Krajcik

  • Research


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Crossroads - Investigating the unexplored side of multilingualism

UK-based PhD student

Chesea Krajcik
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Thesis title:
A window into the multilingual mind: exploring deictic gestures and spatial language in Casamance, Senegal
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Chelsea Krajcik is a PhD student working on the Crossroads project. She received her MA from SOAS in 2014 in Language Documentation and Description where she carried out language attitude work in Santiago, Guatemala, focusing on Mayan youth and their languages Tz'utujil and Spanish. Her research on the Crossroads project seeks to understand how space is encoded in one of the "crossroads languages", Joola Kujireray, and in Senegalese French, and to see the extent of the two languages' diversity. Through examining the speakers' deictic gestures (pointing), she will take a closer look at the languages' demonstrative systems and see if this linguistic diversity has an influence on the speakers' spatial cognition. Chelsea says: ‘I'm very pleased to be working on this dynamic, adventurous and supportive team and to be working in such a wonderful community in the Casamance. I'm looking forward to returning to the field, reconnecting with the friends we made, and begin collecting data!’

PhD Research

The Casamance of Senegal is home to a highly multilingual environment due to a history of intense language contact. My research seeks to understand the linguistic diversity of the languages Gubëeher, Joola Kujirerai, and Gújjolaay Eegimaa in how space is encoded, and to see the extent of this diversity's influence on the speakers' spatial cognition. The focus of this investigation is on deictic gestures, such as pointing, and will also contribute to the exploration of gesture repertoires cross-culturally, considering gesture taboos such as pointing with the left hand.


Gestures, demonstratives, space, deixis, multilingualism, Senegal