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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Hanna Danbolt Ajer

College: Trinity Hall 


Supervisor: Dr Theresa Biberauer

Research Topic: Putting PPs into order – Understanding prepositionality in the predominantly postpositional language Lule Sami



Hanna undertook a BA in Arabic and Linguistics at SOAS in 2010-14 (a 4-year degree as it included a Year Abroad in Egypt), in which she looked at a few different morphological patterns of verbs in Modern Standard Arabic, seeking to pinpoint the differences in their usage. The patterns in question are commonly referred to as Forms V, VII and VIII, and the faʕila and faʕula patterns of Form I. In her BA thesis, she argued that these Forms are characterised by marking different sub-types of the middle voice. Upon finishing her BA, Hanna obtained an MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge in 2014-15. Her MPhil thesis built on her previous work during the BA, linking the different types of middle voice to subtypes of an extended notion of affectedness. Furthermore, she explored the interplay of voice, aspect, and valency in these Forms.



In her PhD project, Hanna is investigating PP-internal word order variation in the Uralic language Lule Sami, an endangered language indigenous to parts of Northern Norway and Sweden. Lule Sami predominantly makes use of postpositions, but prepositional order is sometimes used instead. The aim of this project is to identifty the factors triggering the use of this marked word order in Lule Sami, with a particular focus on information structural and semantic factors



Gates Cambridge scholarship 2015 onwards for my PhD.

Gates Cambridge scholarship 2014-2015 for my MPhil.

Bateman Scholarship 2015 from Trinity Hall.

SOAS Undergraduate School Prize 2012.



Lectured and gave tutorials for the undergraduate course Introduction to Arabic dialects at SOAS in 2017-18.

Supervised one group in LI4 History and Varieties of English in Michaelmas 2015.


Conference papers  

22.09.2021: ‘Variasjåvnnå julevsáme adposisjåvnåj báhkogárggán’ (‘Variation in the word order of Lule Sami adpositions’), Sámegiela ja girjjálašvuođa symposia (Sami language and literature symposium), Sámi University College. Talk in Lule Sami.

27.08.2021: ‘Word order variation within the Lule Sami PP’, Workshop on the structure of Uralic Languages, University of Pécs.

25.05.2021: ‘Can a bleached focus projection account for word order variation within the Lule Sami PP?’, SyntaxLab talk series, University of Cambridge.

19.10.2017: ‘Before time – Variation in Lule Sami adpositions’, 3rd Saami Linguistics Symposium, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg.

18.03.2016: ‘Ambipositions and disharmony in Western Uralic languages’, 11th Newcastle upon Tyne Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics, Newcastle University.

04.09.2015: ‘Voice, valency and aktionsart in the Arabic verb’, Aspect vs. verbal and nominal valency workshop – 48th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, Leiden University.

30.07.2015: ‘The middle voice in Arabic – towards and understanding of the faʕula pattern and Form VII’, Forum for Arabic linguistics, University of Essex.

12.05.2015: ‘The middle voice in Arabic’, SyntaxLab talk series, University of Cambridge.


Other activities and roles

2015-2018: Graduate convenor for Cambridge Endangered Languages and Cultures group (CELC).

2016: Co-organiser of Endangered and Low-Resource Languages Reading Group, Cambridge Language Sciences and CELC.

2015-2016: Captain of Cambridge University Women’s Ice Hockey Club.

2014-2015: Junior Treasurer, Cambridge Homeless Outreach Program.