Ancient Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Dr Alexander Andrason


PhD (African Languages), Stellenbosch
PhD (Semitic Languages), Madrid​​


Research Gate Profile​​ Profile
List of Publications


I am a linguist working in the Department of Ancient Studies, where I teach Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages. Additionally, I work as a researcher in the Department of African Languages, directing projects related to the Bantu, Khoe, and Nilotic linguistic families, and in the Department of General Linguistics, where I lecture on multilingualism. The scope of my research is broad and includes the areas of linguistics, cognitive science, complexity theory, philosophy, and open data. I specialize in cognitive linguistics, and its various sub-types, especially, semantics and morphosyntax, sociolinguistics and language contact, grammaticalization theory and typology. I speak some thirty living languages and have an extensive knowledge of ten ancient languages. My language interests include especially the Indo-European (Germanic, Slavic, Romance, and Greek), Afro-Asiatic (Semitic, Egyptian, and Chadic), Niger-Congo (Mande, Bantu, Nguni), Nilotic (Maa), and Khoe-Kwadi (Eastern Kalahari) families, as well as Turkic (Oghuz Turkic), Austronesian (Malaysian, Tagalog), and Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu) languages. Since 2006, I have been engaged in the documentation and preservation of Wymysorys, a nearly extinct Germanic language spoken in Poland. Through various fieldworks and community interaction, I have also contributed to the description and visibility of under-researched and/or minority languages in Tanzania (​Arusa, Sandawe, and Hadza), Zimbabwe (Tjwao), and Gambia (Mandinka).

I view myself as an unconventional scholar; a global nomad who was brought up in a multilingual environment and, since adolescence, has resided in eight European and African countries; a hyper-multilingual whose language repertoire draws on forty languages; a teacher who refuses to stop being a student but welcomes the wisdom of others by pursuing studies at various new universities; a pluri-disciplinary scholar who, being fascinated by life and reality in all their aspects and diversity, thrives at disciplines' and theories' crossroads; an idealist who fights for the preservation and revitalization of ethnic, cultural, and language minorities; and, perhaps most importantly, being an eternal immigrant myself, a fervent defender of the immigrants' cause. At the core of my life, there is scholarship, research, and learning. Working towards doctoral degrees is my favorite pastime; writing articles relaxes me; conducting collaborative research cements my friendships; and reading grammars and learning new languages constitute the essence of my vacations. This intense passion for science and enthusiasm for knowledge are responsible for my three PhD dissertations, 140 papers published or accepted for publication, work as a staff member or visiting lecturer/researcher at twenty-five universities and institutes in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the direction of or participation in more than twenty international projects.

If you would like to establish a collaboration with me or develop your MA or PhD project under my supervision, please contact me ( I am always enthusiastic about new scientific adventures.


Areas of Specialisation

Niger-Congo (Bantu), Afro-Asiatic (Semitic), Nilotic (Maa), Khoe (Eastern Kalahari), and Indo-European (Germanic, Greek, Latin, and Slavonic) linguistics; Cognitive linguistics; Grammaticalization theory; Construction grammar; Typology (prototype theory and canonical typology); Semantic maps; Diachronic-comparative linguistics;  Language complexity;  Language contact; Sociolinguistics; Linguistic anthropology; Endangered and minority languages; Semantics, pragmatics, morphology, and syntax; Tense-Aspect-Mood; Multiverb (serial verb) constructions; Ideophones (onomatopoeias); Interjections; Inter-species communication (conative calls to animals); Performatives; Emotions; Categorization; Gestures​.

Courses Taught in 2021

  • Biblical Hebrew 214

  • Biblical Hebrew 224

  • Biblical Aramaic 314

  • Biblical Aramaic 344

  • Academic writing (Hons)

  • Reimagining multilingualism (Hons – Department of General Linguistics, SU)

  • Guest-lecturer in Critical psychology (Department of Psychology, UCT)

Current Funded Projects

Direction or Co-Direction

  • 2021-2026 Multilingual worlds – neglected histories. Uncovering their emergence, continuity and loss in past and present societies – co-directed with J. Olko (University of Warsaw) and H. Colleran (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Munich), and funded by the European Research Council (Consolidator Grant nr 101002696).

  • 2021-2022 Feeling and depicting the world – Interjections and ideophones in Sandawe and Hadza – funded by the Department of African Languages Stellenbosch University in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam and Leiden University.

  • 2021-2022 Wymysöryś Reference Grammar – developed in collaboration with the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw.

  • 2020-2022 EXGRAM! – The expressive grammar of Arusa Maasai: Interjections, ideophones, and gestures – funded by the Department of African Languages Stellenbosch University in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam.

  • 2019-2021 The other grammar of Eastern Kalahari Khoe – The documentation and analysis of interjections, onomatopoeias, and ideophones in Tjwao – funded by The Khoisan Fund of Stellenbosch University in collaboration with CIBIO: Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources in Vairão.


  • 2020-2022 Bureaucracy and palace administration in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean: Ugarit and Idalion – directed by JP Vita and JA Zamora López (CSIC Madrid) and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities (PID2019-106923GB-I00).

Selected Publications - Books

wymysorys-grammar.original.jpgA. Andrason & T. Król

A Grammar of Wymysorys

Durham: Duke Univeristy


image001.jpgA. Andrason

El sistema verbal hebrew en su contexto semitico: una visión dinámica

Estella: Verbo divino


Selected Publications - Articles and Essays

 (since 2019; for all publications see here)​


Andrason, A. Laughter interjections in Xhosa. Studies in African Languages and Cultures 55. (forthcoming) 

Andrason, A. & H. Lange (forthcoming). Perfomatives in Biblical Aramaic. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 74.

Andrason, A. (forthcoming) Complexity of severely endangered minority languages – the case of Wymysorys. In Contemporary Research in Minority and Diaspora Languages of Europe, eds. M. Coler & A. Nevins. Berlin: Language Science Press.

Andrason, A. (forthcoming) The form of laughter interjections in Polish. In Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, eds. M. Tarsi. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck, 29-49.

Andrason, A. & JP. Vita. A contribution to the study of interjections in Canaano-Akkadian. Die Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (ZDMG) 171/1: 39-67.

Andrason, A. & M. Durán. The syntax of interjections: Evidence from New Testament Greek. Scripta Classica Israelica 40: 57-93.

Andrason, A. Сашко-lect – A translanguaged grammar of a hyper-multilingual global nomad. PART 3. Contact languages and translanguaging. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 138/2: 119-133.

Andrason, A. Ideophones as linguistic “rebels" – The extra-systematicity of ideophones in Xhosa.  Part 2. Asian and African Studies 30/1: 1-30.

Andrason, A. Сашко-lect – A translanguaged grammar of a hyper-multilingual global nomad. PART 2. Contact mechanisms. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 138/1: 7-24.



Andrason, A. Сашко-lect – The translanguaged grammar of a hyper-multilingual global nomad. PART 1. Theoretical considerations. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 137:229-243.

Andrason, A. Ideophones as linguistic “rebels" – The extra-systematicity of ideophones in Xhosa.  Part 1. Asian and African Studies 29/2: 119-165.

Andrason, A., A.M. Fehn & A. Phiri. Interjections in Tjwao. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 83/2: 293-319.

Andrason, A. & B. Koo. Verbal serialization in Biblical Aramaic – a dynamic network approach. Altorientalische Forschungen 47/1: 3-33.

Durán Mañas, M. & Andrason, A. Semántica y traducción de las interjecciones en el Nuevo Testamento. In M. López Salvá (ed.) En los albores del cristianismo. Reus: Rhemata, 169-183.

Andrason, A. Primary interjections in Ugaritic. Aula Orientalis 38/2: 211-246.

Andrason, A., I. Hornea & M. Joubert. The structure of interjections in Biblical Hebrew: Phonetics, morphology, and syntax. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 20/1: 1-43.

Andrason, A. & A. Hutchison. Interjections in Biblical Aramaic: A radial model. Aramaic Studies 38/1: 1-45.

Andrason, A. Verb second in Wymysorys. In Rethinking Verb Second, eds. R. Woods & S. Wolfe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 700-722.

Andrason, A. Verifying the semantic map of adversative-contrastive markers – Evidence from Polish. Slavia 89/1: 1-42.

Andrason, A. & M. Dlali. The (crucial yet neglected) category of interjections in Xhosa. STUF – Language Typology and Universals 73/2: 159-217.

Andrason, A. & JP. Vita. Serial Verb Construction in Ugaritic. Aula Orientalis 38/1: 5-33.



Andrason, A. A Serial Verb Construction with the Verb alāku 'go' in Canaano-Akkadian. Antiguo Oriente 17: 11-38.

Andrason, A. From African languages to an African Perspective on language – The work and research of Prof. Marianna W. Visser. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 58: i-x.

Andrason, A. & H. Matutu. The syntax of interjections in isiXhosa – a corpus-driven study. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 58: 1-16.

Andrason, A. & M. Karani. Dative applicative elements in Arusa (Maa): A canonical approach to the argument-adjunct distinction. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 58: 177-204.

Andrason, A. A pseudo-coordinated Serial Verb Construction “wziąć i V2" in Polish. Slovo a Slovesnost 80: 163-191.

Andrason, A., I. Hornea & M. Joubert. The QeTAL form in the Aramaic of Ezra – A grammaticalization perspective. Archiv Orientalni 87: 59-98.

Andrason, A. The map of ti in Kituba – Testing and expanding the typological model of the polysemy of conjunctive coordinators. Studies in African Linguistics 48/1: 85-123.

Andrason, A. Syntactic gradience and fuzziness – The QWM gram (Serial Verb Construction) in Biblical Hebrew. In The Ancient Text and Modern Reader, eds. G. Kotzé, C. Locatell & J. Messarra. Leiden: Brill. pp 100-126.

Andrason, A. & M. Visser. Precipitation constructions in isiXhosa. South African Journal of African Languages 39/1: 1-13.

Andrason, A. Weather in Polish: A contribution to the typology of meteorological constructions. Studia Linguistica. 73/1: 66-105.

Andrason, A. The conjunctive coordinator NA in Xhosa – Its categorial status and map of polyfunctionality. Italian Journal of Linguistics 31/1: 3-60.


  • Stellenbosch University Research Excellence Award – 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

  • Stellenbosch University Teaching Excellence Award (Developing Teacher) – 2020

  • Teaching award for lecturers who have had the most positive impact on one of the top-achieving first-year Stellenbosch University students – 2020

​ Service/Committees