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Joseph Lovestrand

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at SOAS University of London

Barayin (Chad)
Mongo, Chad

Barayin is a Chadic (Afroasiatic) language spoken by about 6000 people in the Republic of Chad. The majority of my descriptive and documentary work has been on Barayin, a language which had not previously been studied. The work includes my MA thesis, PhD thesis, several articles and a video documentation corpus.

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Nyokon (Cameroon)
Mbam region, Cameroon

Nyokon is a Bantu language spoken in the Mbam region of Cameroon. The language had erroneously been classified as a dialect of neighboring Tunen. In 2011, I spent four months studying the phonology of Nyokon and had its status changed in the ISO 639-9 list of languages.

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Sumba (Indonesia)
Sumbanese ikat in Indonesia

Sumba is an island in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Its 700,000 habitants speak 8 or more different languages, most of which have very limited documentation and description. I worked with three language groups in Sumba, studying their phonology and helping design provisional alphabets: Kodi, Lamboya and Wanukaka.

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Formal syntax (LFG)
Lincoln College Library, Oxford

Lexical Functional Grammar is the approach to syntactic analysis that I applied to Barayin in my PhD dissertation and in a forthcoming monograph. I co-developed a new formal representation of phrase structure in LFG called “minimal c-structure”.

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Comparative syntax
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Comparative syntax is a discipline that seeks to understand language by comparing aspects of grammar across many languages. My work has focused on serial verb constructions, and my current project looks at how language combine motion with verbs.

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Language documentation
Jakarta, Indonesia

As part of my research I have been involved in various small language documentation projects, and currently lead a course on language documentation at SOAS.

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