Niels Schoubben is a PhD-student in the ERC-project "The Tocharian Trek" under the supervision of dr. Michaël Peyrot and prof. dr. Sasha Lubotsky. He researches language contact between Middle Indic (Niya Gāndhārī), Middle Iranian and Tocharian in the administrative documents (3rd-4th century AD) from the Middle Indic Shan-Shan kingdom at the former southern Silk Road in present-day Xinjiang (NW China). More generally, he is interested in the application of modern linguistic theory in the study of ancient Indo-European languages, most notably Indo-Iranian, Tocharian & Greek.
Fields of interest
- Indo-Iranian linguistics
- Tocharian linguistics
- Language Contact
- Historical sociolinguistics
- Comparative Indo-European Linguistics
- Greek linguistics
- Metrics & oral poetry
My PhD-research is concerned with language contact between Middle Indic (Niya Gāndhārī), Middle Iranian and Tocharian in the administrative documents (3rd-4th century AD) from the Middle Indic Shan-Shan kingdom at the former southern Silk Road in present-day Xinjiang (NW China). This research is part of the larger ERC-project ‘The Tocharian Trek’ under the supervision of dr. Michaël Peyrot (the PI) and prof. dr. Sasha Lubotsky It is the aim of my research to test whether the suggestion made by Thomas Burrow (1935; 1937) that these texts have been influenced by an otherwise unattested variety of Tocharian (Tocharian C) stands up to scrutiny when considered in the light of the advances in Tocharology and Gandharan studies.
Previously, I studied Classics, Modern Greek and Sanskrit at Ghent University and Classics and Indo-European linguistics (mainly Indo-Iranian and Tocharian) at Leiden University. In my BA & MA theses, I studied language contact in the Greek Kandahar Inscriptions, the prehistory of the Homeric hexameter, the words for “sorrow” in Epic Greek and the dialinguistics of the phoneme /l/ in R̥gvedic Sanskrit.
In general, I am interested in the application of modern linguistic theory (e.g. language contact, sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics) to ancient Indo-European languages, in order to get a better understanding of both their synchrony and diachrony. The Indo-European languages that attract my attention the most include the Indo-Iranian family (e.g. (Vedic) Sanskrit, Prakrit, Old Persian & Khotanese), Tocharian and (Ancient) Greek.
- 2019-present: PhD-student in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics (Leiden University).
- 2018-2019: MA. Comparative Indo-European Linguistics (Leiden University) Summa cum laude.
- 2018-2019: MA. Classics & Ancient Civilizations: Classics (Leiden University) Cum laude.
- 2017-2018: MA. Languages & Linguistics: Latin-Greek (Ghent University) Summa cum laude with special congratulations. Extra courses in classical Indology.
- 2014-2017: BA. Languages & Linguistics: Latin-Greek (Ghent University) Summa cum laude. Extra courses in Sanskrit (2016-2017).
Grants and awards
- 2018: Laureate GIKS-price (Ghent University) Price for the best MA. thesis in Classics submitted in the academical year 2017-2018 at Ghent University, awarded by the Ghent Institute for Classical Studies (GIKS).
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