Universiteit Leiden

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Marian Klamer

Director PhD programs and Professor of Austronesian and Papuan Linguistics

Prof.dr. M.A.F. Klamer
+31 71 527 2783

I work on the description and comparison of small, under-described Austronesian and Papuan languages in Indonesia and I am interested in the history and culture of the populations who speak the languages.

More information about Marian Klamer

Fields of interest

  • Papuan and Austronesian languages and linguistics
  • Malay varieties
  • language description and documentation
  • language contact and change
  • linguistic typology


My publications cover a wide range of linguistic topics including morphology, typology, grammaticalization, historical reconstruction, and the effects of language contact. I wrote grammars on two Austronesian languages (Kambera, 1998; Alorese, 2011) and two Papuan languages (Teiwa, 2010; Kaera, 2014). In the interdisciplinary RISE-OCSEAN project I am currently responsible for the collection of linguistic data in Island SE Asia.

Grants and awards

2019 Elected Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam

Grants (selection, main applicant):

2014-2019 Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) – VICI Grant ‘Reconstructing the past through languages of the present’. € 1,500,000

2014 NWO – Aspasia premium. € 100,000

2012-2014 CLARIN-NL Language Archive of Insular South East Asia and West New Guinea (LAISEANG). € 80,000

2009-2012 European Science Foundation (ESF)-EuroCORES-EuroBABEL Research Project ‘Alor-Pantar languages: Origins and theoretical impact’. € 935,000

2002-2007 NWO Vernieuwingsimpuls (VIDI) ‘Linguistic variation in Eastern Indonesia’. € 650,000

Curriculum vitae


1994 Ph.D. General Linguistics, cum laude, VU University, Amsterdam

1990 M.A. General Linguistics, cum laude, VU University, Amsterdam


2014–present Full Professor of Austronesian and
Papuan Linguistics, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics/Leiden Institute for Area Studies, Leiden U

2014–2019 PI of NWO-VICI project Reconstructing the past through languages of the present

2015 Research Fellow and coordinator of NIAS-Lorentz Theme Group 'Capturing Phylogenetic Algorithms for Linguistics', Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

2013-2014 Senior lecturer, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics/Leiden Institute for Area Studies, Leiden U

2013-2014 Coordinator of the CLARIN-project

2009-2013 PI of ESF EuroBABEL Collaborative Research Project Alor-Pantar languages: Origins and theoretical impact

2002-2007 PI of NWO-VIDI project Linguistic Variation in Eastern Indonesia: The Alor and Pantar Project

1999-2002 Senior Research Fellow & Research Coordinator in the Spinoza research project Lexicon and Syntax headed by Prof. P.C. Muysken, Leiden U  

1996-2000 Research Fellow Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

1994-1995 Lecturer in General and Applied Linguistics Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle

1986-1987 Research Assistant, Department of Dialectology, Meertensinstitute (KNAW) Amsterdam

1986-1988 Teacher of Dutch for Foreigners, Department of Dutch, VU University, Amsterdam

PhD supervision


Benjamin Pehrson. A descriptive grammar of Onnele, a Torricelli Language of Northcentral New Guinea.

Hong-Tae Jang. A descriptive grammar of Digul-Wambon, an Awyu-Dumut Language of West Papua.

Nora Julmi. Reconstructing the northern Quechua expansion.

Jiang Wu. Tracking Malay migration history through the genealogy of vernacular Malayic varieties.


Erika Just. A functional approach to differential indexing – Combining perspectives from typolog and corpus linguistics. 2022.

Yunus Sulistyono. A history of Alorese: Combining linguistic and oral history of an Austronesian language in eastern Indonesia. 2022.

George Saad. Variation and change in Abui: The impact of Alor Malay on an indigenous language of Indonesia. 2020.

Hanna Fricke. Traces of Language contact. The Flores-Lembata languages in eastern Indonesia. 2019.

Nurenzia Yannuar. Bòso Walikan Malangan: The structure and development of a reversed language. 2019.

Arum Perwitasari. The perception of English vowels by speakers of Javanese and Sundanese. 2019

Sophie Villerius. Development of Surinamese Javanese: Language contact and change in a multilingual context. 2019. Radboud U, Nijmegen, with Pieter Muysken.

Freddy Bosswell. A grammar of Cheke Holo. 2018.

Joseph Brooks. Morphology of the Chini predicate. Diss comm member. UC Santa Barbara, 2018.

Francesa Moro. Dynamics of Ambon Malay: Comparing Ambon and the Netherlands. 2016. Radboud U, with Pieter Muysken.

Angela Kluge. A grammar of Papuan Malay. 2014.

František Kratochvíl. A grammar of Abui. 2007.

Nelleke Goudswaard. A description of Ida'an (Sabah, Northern Borneo). VU Amsterdam, 2005.

Director PhD programs and Professor of Austronesian and Papuan Linguistics

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Taalwetenschap

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 0.46



  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Member Council for Humanities (Raad voor Geesteswetenschappen)
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Member of the KNAW advisory committee "De toekomst van de Friesistiek"
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