Ancient Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Dr Alexander Andrason

PhD Semitic Languages (Hebrew and Arabic) (Madrid), PhD African Languages (Stellenbosch)


Lecturing specialisation

Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages, Ugaritic, Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Arabic, and Middle Egyptian; cognitive linguistics

Research specialisation

Linguistics: Afro-Asiatic (Semitic, Egyptian, Chadic, Berber), Niger-Congo (Mande, Bantu, Nguni), Nilotic (Maa), Khoe (Eastern Kalahari), Indo-European (Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Greek), and Turkic (Turkish); Cognitive linguistics, grammaticalization theory, fuzzy and construction grammar; Typology, semantic maps, diachronic-comparative linguistics, language complexity, language contact (mixed languages and pidgins), sociolinguistics, endangered/minority languages, language documentation, language multimodality; Semantics, pragmatics, morphosyntax, syntax; Tense-Aspect-Mood, multiverb (serial verb) constructions, ideophones, interjections, onomatopoeias, connectives, performatives
Cognitive science: cognitive deception/dissonance and categorization
Modelling: evolutionary-biological adaptive models, complexity theory, chaos theory, game theory, thermodynamics, fuzziology, and system theory
Philosophy: ontology, universals, and categories

Current research projects

Niger-Congo languages: Ideophones in isiXhosa Interjections in isiXhosa (with M. Dlali, Stellenbosch University); The semantic locative inversion in isiXhosa (with M. Visser, Stellenbosch University); A reconstruction of the Proto-Nguni TAM system (with J. Wills, University of Zimbabwe / Catholic University of Ukraine); African perspectives on language – decolonizing linguistics categories in Africa
Nilotic languages: Interjections in Arusha (Maasai); The argumenthood of dative applicative elements in Arusha (Maasai) (with M. Karani, University of Dar es Salaam)
Khoisan languages: The TAM verbal system of Tjwao (with A. Phiri, Stellenbosch University); Interjections in Tjwao (with A-M. Fehn, Max Plank Institute in Jena, and A. Phiri, Stellenbosch University) ; Ideophones in Tjwao (with A-M. Fehn, Max Plank Institute in Jena, and A. Phiri, Stellenbosch University); Onomatopoeias in Tjwao (with A-M. Fehn, Max Plank Institute in Jena, and A. Phiri, Stellenbosch University)
Afro-Asiatic languages: Serial verb constructions in Ugaritic (with J.P. Vita, Spanish National Research Council in Madrid); Interjections in Ugaritic Serial verb constructions in Biblical Aramaic
Indo-European languages: The synchrony and diachrony of performatives in Polish Multi verb constructions in Polish (with M. Gębka-Wolak, University of Turuń); Reference Grammar of Wymysorys (with T. Król, Polish Academy of Science); Wymysorys – a Germanic-Slavic mixed language? (a PhD dissertation at the University of Iceland); The complexity of endangered minority languages (with J. Olko, University of Warsaw)
Philosophy: The ontological status of linguistic categories (a PhD proposal)

Academic service/Community interaction

Direction of international research groups/projects:
Documenting oral literature of Arusa (Maasai) (2019). Participating institutions: Stellenbosch University and University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).
The other grammar of Eastern Kalahari Khoe – the documentation and analysis of interjections, onomatopoeias, and ideophones in Tjwao (2019-2021). Funded by Khoisan Fund of the Department of African Languages (Stellenbosch University).

Participation in international research groups/projects:
Bureaucracy and administrative procedures in the Syrian kingdom of Ugarit (14th to 12th centuries B.C.) (2016-2019), directed by J-P. Vita (The Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain) and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (FFI2015- 67357-P).
Language as a cure: linguistic vitality as a tool for psychological well-being, health and economic sustainability (2017-2020), directed by dr. J. Olko and dr. M. Bilewicz (University of Warsaw) and funded by Foundation for Polish Science (TEAM Grant). Collaborating institutions: Max Plank Institute in Jena, University of Groningen, Jagiellonian University, University of California.
Open data intermediaries and economic ownership rights (2017-2018), directed by F. van Schalkwyk (Stellenbosch University / African Minds) and funded by Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Digital Impact Grants).
Multiverb constructions in Polish (2019), directed by Prof. M. Gębka-Wolak (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland).

Selected publications

  • Forthcoming
    (with I. Hornea and M. Joubert) The QeTAL form in the Aramaic of Ezra – A grammaticalization perspective. Archiv Orientalni.
    The map of ti in Kituba – Testing and expanding the typological model of the polysemy of conjunctive coordinators. Studies in African Linguistics.
    (with M. Visser) Precipitation constructions in isiXhosa. South African Journal of African Languages.
    The conjunctive coordinator NA in Xhosa – Its categorial status and map of polyfunctionality. Italian Journal of Linguistics.
    Grammaticalization in Fanagalo – Simplification, complexification and acceleration. Studies in African Linguistics.
    Verb second phenomena in Wymysorys. In: Rethinking Verb Second, T. Biberauer, S. Wolfe & R. Woods (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2018
    A pseudo-consecutive non-canonical serial verb construction in Xhosa. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 55: 1-6.
    The WZIĄĆ gram in Polish: A serial verb construction, or not? STUF – Language Typology and Universals 71/4: 577-629.
    From coordination to verbal serialization – The pójść (serial verbal) construction in Polish. Research in Language 16/1: 19-46.
    Weather in Polish: A contribution to the typology of meteorological constructions. Studia Linguistica 72: 1-40.
    (with J. Westbury) Towards a complex analysis of Wayyhî + T Construction in Biblical Hebrew. Asian and African Studies 27/1: 50-79.
    (with J.P. Vita) Amorite: A Northwest Semitic language? Journal of Semitic Studies 63/1: 19-58.          
  • 2017
    (with M. Visser) Cognate objects of weather verbs in African languages of South Africa – from synchronic variation to a grammaticalization path. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics 48: 151-160.
    The "exotic" nature of ideophones – from Khoekhoe to Xhosa. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics 48: 139-150.
    (with M. Dlali) The EK construction in Xhosa: A cognitive account. Linguistics (Jezikoslovlje) 18/3: 383-421.
    (with J.P. Vita) The YQTL-Ø "preterite" in Ugaritic. Archiv Orientalni 85/3: 345-387.
    Theoretical prolegomena to the reality of verbal grams in Biblical Hebrew: From the complexity of semantic maps to the simplicity of psychological conceptualizations. Folia Orientalia 54: 11-34.
    (with M. Dlali) Tense and aspect of performatives in Xhosa. South African Journal of African Languages 37/2: 149–161.
    (with M. Karani) Radial categories in syntax: Non-resumptive Left Dislocation in Arusha (Maasai). Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 134/2: 205-218.
    Grammaticalization paths and chaos – determinism and unpredictability of the semantic development of verbal constructions: PART 3 – Chaos in grammaticalization. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 134/1: 53-66.
    (with M. Karani) The perfective form in Arusa – A cognitive-grammaticalization model. Asian and African Studies 26/1: 69-101.
  • 2016
    The coordinators i and z in Polish: A cognitive-typological approach. Part 1. Lingua Posnaniensis 58/1: 7-24.
    (with M. Visser) The mosaic evolution of Left Dislocation in Xhosa. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 50: 139-158.
    Left dislocation in Standard Arabic – the complexity of form and meaning. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 50: 111-138.
    Grammaticalization paths and chaos – determinism and unpredictability of the semantic development of verbal constructions. PART 2 – Chaos in linguistics. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 133/4: 319–335.
    Grammaticalization paths and chaos – determinism and unpredictability of the semantic development of verbal constructions. PART 1 – Chaos in mathematics. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 133/3: 245-257.
    (with F. van Schalkwyk, M. Cañares, and S. Chattapadhyay) Open data intermediaries in developing countries. Journal of Community Informatics (Special Issue on Open Data for Social Change and Sustainable Development) 12/2: 9-25.
    Where Germanic and Slavic meet – a note on new Polish-based tenses in the Vilamovicean language. Germanoslavica 27/1: 1-18.
    (with C. Locatell) The perfect wave. Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics 5: 7-121.
    From vectors to waves and streams: An alternative approach to semantic maps. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics 45: 1-29.
    Cartografía del yiqtol corto. Sefarad 76/1: 7-53.
    Modern Vilamovicean – complex decay of a case system. Oxford German Studies 45/2: 212-235.
    The complexity of verbal semantics – an intricate relationship between QATAL and WAYYIQTOL. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 16/4: 1-96.
    (with J.P. Vita) Contact Languages of the Ancient Near East - Three more Case Studies (Ugaritic-Hurrian, Hurro-Akkadian and Canaano-Akkadian). Journal of Language Contact 9: 289-330.