Prof.dr. M.P.G.M. (Maarten) Mous

  • Professor
  • African linguistics

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2242
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics, LUCL T&C van Afrika
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 2.05b
Personal Homepage:​lucl/​organisation/​members-m-z/​mousmpgm.html


My research is clustered around four themes: (1) Cushitic languages, (2) Language and Identity, (3) Diathesis and derivation, and (4) Bantu languages. My research on Cushitic languages consists of the description of (aspects of)  grammar, lexicon and verbal arts of Iraqw ( Tanzania), Alagwa (Tanzania), Konso (Ethiopia) and Somali. I am working on the history of the South Cushitic languages and on a typological overview of Cushitic. My research on Language and Identity derives from my interest in Creole languages and started seriously with a study of the mixed language Ma’a/Mbugu and continued with a typological study of African urban youth languages. Currently I am working on a book on conscious language use for identity and respect/fear entitled Controlling Language and on several articles on language contact. My interest in morphology is centred around the study of valency changing verbal derivations such as causatives, middles and passives in Iraqw, Konso, Tunen, and Seereer, and comparatively in Africa. The Bantu languages that I have published on are Tunen (Cameroon), Mbugu, Pare, and Mbugwe (all Tanzania). I have recently started to work on Seereer (Atlantic, Senegal) and I have done some work on Seme (Kru) and Toussian (Gur) in Burkina Faso.

I am promotor of Regula Christiansen (supervisor is Maarten Kossmann), Oumou Diaby (supervisor is Felix Ameka), Kofi Dorvlo (supervisor is Felix Ameka), Tolemariam Fufa, Anne-Christie Hellenthal (supervisor is Azeb Amha), Juliette Huber (supervisor is Aone van Engelenhoven), Mulugeta Seyoum (supervisor is Azeb Amha), Sander Steeman (co-supervisor is Maarten Kossmann) and the following externals (buitenpromovendi): Joseph Bogny, Ginger Boyd, Daniel Duke, Benji Leach (supervisor is Constance Kutsch Lojenga), Pierre Malgoubri, and Aklilu Yilma. I am co-promotor of Victoria Nyst (University of Amsterdam) and responsible for Azeb Amha’s NWO/WOTRO funded research projects in Ethiopia:

The morpho-syntax of two modal categories in Omotic languages of south-west Ethiopia

Selected Publications

  • Kießling, Roland & Maarten Mous 2004. Urban Youth Languages in Africa. Anthropological Linguistics 46(3): 303-341
  • Mous, Maarten 2003. The Making of a Mixed Language: The Case of Ma’a/Mbugu. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Mous, Maarten 2003. Nen. In The Bantu languages, edited by Derek Nurse and Gérard Philippson, pp. 283-306. London: Routledge.
  • Mous, Maarten, Martha Qorro & Roland Kießling 2002. An Iraqw - English Dictionary (Cushitic Language Studies,15) Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.
  • Mous, Maarten 1993. A Grammar of Iraqw. (Cushitic Language Studies, 9) Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

Other publications can be found under 'Published work' (top page).

Teaching activities

I teach the following courses in 2006/2007 in the BA Talen en Culturen van Afrika: Inleiding Talen en Culturen van Afrika (Introduction Languages and Cultures of Africa), Tekstanalyse en Vertaling (Discourse analysis), Taalkundig veldwerk (Linguistic Fieldwork); I also regularly teach Morphology. At the MA level (MA African Linguistics, Mphil Linguistics). I teach Language contact, Linguistic fieldwork and occasionally the tutorial Cushitic typology. I co-organize the course Samples of linguistic structure I: Analysis and participate in the course Approaches to diversity.

Curriculum Vitae

I studied mathematics (doctoraal) and African linguistics (doctoraal) at Leiden University with minors in Creole studies, linguistics and computer science. After completing these studies I thaught mathematics and related topics for a few years before I started on my PhD, funded by WOTRO, which was a descriptive grammar of Iraqw, a Cushitic language spoken in Tanzania for which I did extensive fieldwork and on which I continue to work. My promotor was Frits Kortlandt, Then I worked as researcher in the African lingustics department at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) on language contact in Tanzania for two years before I started to work as universitair docent at the department of African Languages and Cultures in Leiden. From 1998 -2006 I was co-editor of the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics . In 2001 I was invited research visitor at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, in 2003 at the University of Nice, and in 2006 at the Research Centre for Typology, Melbourne University. Since June 2004 I am full professor of African linguistics at Leiden university, and head of the department of African Languages and Cultures

Last Modified: 11-12-2015