Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Timothy Hadjah

PhD candidate

Mr. T.M. Hadjah MA
+31 71 527 2125

Fields of interest

  • Gesture studies
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Descriptive linguistics
  • Sign language linguistics
  • Disability and vulnerability studies

Research: background and overview

My primary research interests in sign language were inspired by my early exposure as a child to deaf students in an inclusive school setting (Sarkodie M/A Primary/junior high in Koforidua-Eastern Region, Ghana). The exposure instilled in me the desire and keen interest in learning sign language. I believe that signed languages make us perceive interesting phenomena in linguistics with our eyes, which we wouldn’t have easily noticed otherwise. Therefore my quest into gestures and signs by exploring their usage in social interaction. I have a fascinating interest in the documentation of the grammar of Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) and always opened to the unexpected in my linguistic analysis. In 2016, I received the Dean’s Thesis Award for outstanding postgraduate thesis (2016) in the School of Languages, University of Ghana (UG).

My experience with sign language and deaf signers have not been in the academic field only; part of my experience has been in church, where I work as a volunteer interpreter. I have also served as Disability Service Staff (DSS) in the Office for Students with Special Needs- UG. These experiences have also created my interest in disability and vulnerability studies.

Currently, I am part of a Vidi-project ‘From Gesture to Language’, which aims to discover how sign languages use the gestures of hearing speakers as input for creating language. My target languages within the project are GSL and American Sign Language (ASL). I am investigating the extent to which size and shape constructions in GSL pattern with ASL and their current gestural environment. My research will also seek to establish the historical and contemporary relationship existing between the two languages (GSL & ASL).

More information on the Vidi project.

Curriculum vitae

2018 - Current         PhD candidate at Leiden University
                                    Project member of NWO Vidi project ‘From Gesture to Language’
                                    (supervisor: Dr Victoria Nyst)

2017 – 2018             DSS: Academic sign language interpreter and research assistant
                                   Office of Students with Special Needs, University of Ghana.

2016 – 2017             Teaching assistant
                                   Linguistics Department, University of Ghana.

2014 – 2016             Mphil in Linguistics at University of Ghana, Legon;
                                    MPhil thesis ‘Number marking in Ghanaian Sign Language’

2013                           Professional certificate in Deaf Awareness and Sign Language at
                                    British School of Yoga, London-UK

2012 – 2013             MA in Human Rights at University of Education, Winneba;
                                    MA thesis ‘Challenges deaf students in Mampong Senior High face in
                                    pursuing higher education.’

2010 – 2012             Teaching assistant
                                    Linguistics Department, University of Ghana. 

2006 – 2010            BA in Linguistics and Philosophy at University of Ghana, Legon


PhD candidate

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

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden


  • No relevant ancillary activities
This website uses cookies.  More information.