Universiteit Leiden

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Fokelien Kootstra

Guest researcher

Dr. F. Kootstra MA
+31 71 527 2727

Fokelien is an epigraphist and historical linguist. As part of Petra Sijpesteijn’s ERC project ‘Embedding Conquests’ she works on the early Arabic papyri, with a special focus on socio-historical linguistics.

More information about Fokelien Kootstra


I am a historian of language, with a keen interest in historical sociolinguistics and the development of written Arabic in everyday written documents in the early Islamic period. I received my PhD in 2019 from Leiden University on the social context of writing in Ancient Arabia.

My research at Leiden University focuses on variation in written Arabic in the documentary papyri from the 7th-9th centuries AD. Besides my work on the papyri, I collaborate with the Dadān Archaeological Project at al-ʿUlā (Northwest Saudi Arabia), where I am responsible for the study of the epigraphic material in the local Dadanitic script.

Curriculum Vitae

2022 – present

Postdoc Leiden University, LIAS

Project: Linguistic variation and historical sociolinguistics in the Arabic papyri (7th–9th centuries AD)


2020 – present

Junior Postdoctoral Fellow

Ghent University, Department of linguistics

Project: Scribal practice and variation in the Arabic papyri (7th– 9th centuries AD)


2019 – 2020

Research Fellow

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

Project: Scribal practice and variation in the Arabic papyri (7th– 9th centuries AD)



2014 – 2019

PhD Linguistics and Middle Eastern Studies

Leiden University

Dissertation: The writing culture of ancient Dadān: a description and quantitative analysis of linguistic variation

Supervisors: Prof. Petra Sijpesteijn and Prof. Ahmad Al-Jallad


2011 – 2014

ResMA Linguistics

Leiden University

Thesis: Taymanitic: a linguistic assessment

Supervisor: Prof. Ahmad Al-Jallad


2008 – 2011

BA Middle Eastern Studies

Leiden University

Thesis: Arabizi? The use of English words in two Egyptian movies

Original title: Arabizi? Het gebruik van Engelse woorden in twee Egyptische films

Supervisor: Dr. Rudolf de Jong

Grants and Awards

FWO junior postdoctoral mandate

NWO humanities PhD, grant no.: PGW-14-43

Guest researcher

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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