Dr Jeanette Sakel

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  • Qualifications:PhD Linguistics (2003) University of Nijmegen & Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology - - - MA Linguistics (1999) Aarhus - - - BA Linguistics and Finnish (1998) Aarhus
  • Position:Professor of Language and Linguistics
  • Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries, and Education (ACE)
  • Telephone:+4411732 82389
  • Email:Jeanette.Sakel@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: LinkedIn logo Facebook logo

About me

Professor of Language and Linguistics
National Teaching Fellow

Area of expertise

I am a Professor of Language and Linguistics.

I welcome applications from PhD students for projects on minority languages, typology, language contact, second language acquisition, Chinese and Sinitic languages, Amazonian languages.

I joined UWE in 2007 and have held a range of teaching and managerial roles since then. 

My research is on Language Contact, Typology and Amerindian Languages (Amazonian Languages, Greenlandic).

Language Contact

I work on Language Contact, in particular grammatical contact phenomena. I have conducted extensive fieldwork on various contact situations: Mosetén and Spanish in Bolivia; Pirahã and Portuguese in Brazil; Somali in the UK.

I have co-edited the book 'Grammatical Borrowing in Cross-Linguistic Perspective' (2007,  Mouton de Gruyter) with Yaron Matras. I've co-edited a volume on clause combining in Amerindian languages; a volume on Amerindian languages and a special issues of International Journal of Bilingualism.

Linguistic Typology and Amerindian Languages

My research also encompasses language typology, Amerindian languages, linguistic fieldwork and grammar-writing, with a special focus on the languages of the Amazon. I have done extensive fieldwork in Bolivia on Mosetén (Mosetenan, unclassified) and written a descriptive grammar of the language (2004, Mouton Grammar Library, vol. 33). I have also worked on several aspects of Mosetén structure, such as the complex predicate system, the gender agreement system, argument coding and language contact changes. I have conducted fieldwork on Pirahã (Muran), in the Brazilian Amazon, investigating the question whether Pirahã has recursion and to which degree its grammar is influenced by Portuguese. Other fieldwork experience includes work on voice structures in Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) in West Greenland.


In my teaching, I am a National Teaching Fellow and have authored two textbooks: 'Study Skills for Linguistics' (2015, Routledge) and Linguistic Fieldwork (Cambridge University Press, 2012) co-authored with Dan Everett. I have supervised eight PhD students. I run a YouTube channel for videos explaining basic grammatical terminology: YouTube channel  

I have served on a wide range of national and international committees and conducted knowledge exchange activities.

Leadership responsibilities

Between 2017-2023 I was Director of Student Experience in my Faculty, writing policies, chairing validation panels, setting up partnerships and overseeing the all key Learning, Teaching and Quality processes.

Language Learning

I am an avid language learner and polyglot. I have learnt and worked on more than 50 languages from all over the world. I am currently learning Mandarin Chinese (since November 2022).


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