Prof. Dr. Nikolaeva
© Irina Nikolaeva

Prof. Dr. Irina Nikolaeva

Prof. Dr. Irina Nikolaeva is now working on the research project "Small-scale multilingualism and language mixing in the Lower Kolyma Tundra", which aims to document several endangered languages spoken in the Lower Kolyma area and to explore the effects of linguistic contacts in a multilingual environment.

She received her PhD in 1999 at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. After working at the University of Konstanz and the University of Oxford, she joined SOAS, University of London, in 2007 as Lecturer in Language Documentation and Description. In 2012 she became Professor of Linguistics, and in 2020 Emeritus Professor.



  • Professional career

    2011-2021 Professor of Linguistics, University of London, SOAS
    2007-2011 Lecturer in Endangered Languages, University of London, SOAS
    2004-2007 Research Fellow and Tutor in Linguistics, University of Oxford
    2000-2004 Research Fellow, University of Konstanz, Germany
    1998-1999 Visiting Scholar, Leiden University, Holland


  • Research Focus

    Prof. Dr. Irina Nikolaeva is the author of 10 academic monographs, as well as numerous articles in linguistic journals and chapters in edited volumes. The focus of her research is syntactic typology, historical linguistics and lexicalist theories of grammar, in particular, Construction Grammar, LFG and HPSG. She has also published extensively on the documentation and description of endangered Siberian languages, such as Northern Khanty, Tundra Nenets, Yukaghiric and Udeghe (Tungusic).



  • Research grants and awards

    2013-2016 “Comparative grammar of Northern Samoyedic”, a research grant from the Academy of
    Finland (continuation of the previous award to L. Leisio), £16.000
    2014 “Online documentation of Siberian languages”, Faculty Strategy Fund award (£1.900)
    2012-2014 “Multimedia documentation of Siberian languages”, The Leverhulme Trust Research
    Fellowship (£14.570)
    2010-2012 2010-2012 “Online documentation of Siberian languages”, British Academy Small
    Research Grant (£4.675)
    2010-2011 2010-2011 “Online documentation of languages of North-Western Siberia”, SOAS
    faculty-based seedcorn grant (£2.000)
    2009-2012 2009-2012 “Comparative Grammar of Northern Samoyedic”, research grant of the Academy
    of Finland; co-applicant, with L. Leisio (EUR 542.620)
    2008 Women of Discovery award for Humanity research ($10.000)
    2006-2007 “Lexicographic documentation of Yukaghir”, Foundation for Endangered Languages grant (EUR1000)
    2005-2006 “Documentation of Udihe”, Endangered Languages Fund grant; co-applicant, with M. Tolskaya and E. Perekhvalskaya ($ 2600)
    2004 Award for Services to the People of Yakutia from the Association of the Minorities of the Russian North
    2003-2007 “Tundra Nenets grammar”, Endangered Languages Documentation Program grant; co-applicant, with T. Salminen and F. Ackerman (£39.000)
    2000 Award for Services to the People of Yakutia from the Yakut Ministry of Education
    1995 Graduate fellowship, University of California, San Diego
    1993 Research grant, University of Vienna
    1993 Young Researcher’s Award of the Russian Academy of Sciences
    1991 Research grant, University of Helsinki
    1985 M.A. diploma with honours, Moscow State University




  • Selected Publications

    Academic monographs


    2020 Yukaghir morphology in a historical and comparative perspective. München; Newcastle: LINCOM GmbH.
    2019 Mixed categories: Morphosyntax of nominal modification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (with A. Spencer).
    2014 A grammar of Tundra Nenets. Mouton Grammar Library 65. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    2013 Descriptive typology and linguistic theory: a study in the morphosyntax of relative clauses. Stanford: CSLI and University of Chicago Press. (with F. Ackerman)
    2011 Objects and information structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 254 p. (with M. Dalrymple).
    2006 A Historical dictionary of Yukaghir. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    2001 A grammar of Udihe. Mouton Grammar Library 21. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (with M.Tolskaya). 2nd edition in 2011.
    2000 Chrestomathia Yukagirica. Ser. Uralisztikai tanulmányok [Uralic studies] 10. Budapest: ELTE. [in Hungarian]
    1999 Ostyak. München; Newcastle: Munich: LINCOM Europa
    1995 The Obdorks dialect of Khanti. Hamburg Hamburg: Societas Uralo-Altaica. [in Russian]























































    Edited text collections

    2003 Udeghe (Udihe) texts. Kyoto: Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Publications. 210 p. (with E. Perekhvalskaya and M. Tolskaya)
    2002 Udeghe (Udihe) folk tales. Ser.Tunguso-Sibirica 10. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. 193 p. (with E. Perekhvalskaya and M.Tolskaya)
    1999 Ostyak texts in the Obdorsk dialect. Wiesbaden: Otto Harassowitz.
    1997 Yukaghir texts. Szombathely: Specimina Sibirica.
    1995 The Obdorsk dialect of Khanty. Hamburg: Mitteilungen der Societas Uralo-Altaica. [in Russian]
    1989 Folklore of the upper Kolyma Yukaghirs. Vols. 1-2. Jakutsk: JaGU. [in Yukaghir and Russian]


    Edited volumes

    2019 Prominent internal possessors. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (with A. Bárány and O. Bond)
    2018 Linguistic typology.Critical concepts in linguistics. Vols. 1-4. London: Routledge.
    2008 Morphosyntactic mismatches and mixed categories. Special issue of Lingua. Vol. 118. (with A. Spencer)
    2007 Finiteness: Theoretical and empirical foundations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.