Dr Sebastian Fedden

Research Fellow

Phone: Work: 01483 68 3354
Room no: 43 AC 05

Further information


Apr 2002 M.A. in Linguistics and English, University of Bielefeld
May 2007 Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Melbourne
Nov 2007 – Mar 2009 Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Employed since 2009 as a Research Fellow in the Surrey Morphology Group, University of Surrey.
Currently working on the AHRC funded project Combining Gender and Classifiers in Natural Language (grant AH/K003194/1)
Past project: Alor-Pantar languages: origins and theoretical impact (grant AH/H500251/1)


My book A Grammar of Mian won the 2013 Gabelentz Award from the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT) for the best grammar published in the period 2009-2012. For more click here.

Mian for Typologists (12561.37KB)

The Gabelentz Award committee reports:
“Sebastian Fedden’s A grammar of Mian (Trans New Guinea) is a truly excellent grammar that goes beyond a synchronic description. Based on eleven months of fieldwork, it covers the full range of descriptive topics and contains a large number of illustrative examples. The motivations underlying the author’s analyses are usually presented in a clear and thorough manner, and the discussion is always typologically informed. The author has come up with excellent and original solutions in the difficult area of how to analyze the complex tonal system. This grammar furthermore has a highly useful and substantial index and table of contents, a high level of clarity of prose, explanation and organization, a high quality and richness of texts and vocabulary. Finally, engaging in areal, genealogical and typological discussions, it goes beyond the standard expectations of reference grammars in general. We should count ourselves lucky for having such a grammar.”


Research Interests

My main research areas are linguistic typology, Papuan linguistics and the typology of argument realization. A specific interest of mine are systems of nominal  classification and categorization more generally. I have also worked on tone and genealogical relations between Papuan languages and subgroups (Oksapmin/Ok and Ok/Greater Awyu).  


Journal articles

  • Fedden S. (2013) 'Reciprocals in Mian'. Studies in Language, 37 (1), pp. 58-93.
  • Fedden S, Brown DP, Corbett GG, Holton G, Klamer M, Robinson LC, Schapper A. (2013) 'Conditions on pronominal marking in the Alor-Pantar languages'. De Gruyter Linguistics, 51 (1), pp. 33-74.
  • Fedden S, Brown DP, Corbett GG, Klamer M, Holton G, Robinson LC, Schapper A. (2013) 'Conditions on pronominal marking in the Alor-Pantar languages'. Linguistics, 51 (1), pp. 33-74.
  • Fedden S. (2012) 'Composite tone in Mian noun-noun compounds'. BLS Proceedings 32S,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Fedden S, Boroditsky L. (2012) 'Spatialization of time in Mian'. Frontiers in Psychology, (3) Article number 485
  • Fedden S. (2012) 'Change in traditional numeral systems in Mian and other Trans New Guinea languages'. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012 (part 1), pp. 1-22.
  • Loughnane R, Fedden S. (2011) 'Is Oksapmin Ok? A study of the genetic relatedness of Oksapmin and the Ok languages'. Routledge Australian Journal of Linguistics, 31 (1), pp. 1-42.


  • Fedden S. (2011) A Grammar of Mian. Berlin : De Gruyter Mouton

Book chapters

  • Fedden S. (2012) 'Switch-reference and temporal reference in Mian'. in Gast V, Diessel H (eds.) Clause Linkage in Cross-linguistic Perspective Berlin : De Gruyter Mouton , pp. 393-413.
  • Fedden S. (2010) 'Studies in ditransitive constructions'. in Malʹchukov AL, Haspelmath M, Comrie B (eds.) Studies in Ditransitive Constructions: A comparative handbook Berlin : De Gruyter Mouton , pp. 456-485.
  • Fedden S. (2007) 'Women, houses, and plural objects? – Homophony in the Mian gender system'. in Loughnane R, Williams C, Verhoeven J (eds.) In Between Wor(l)ds. Transformation and Translation School of Languages and Linguistics Postgraduate Research Papers on Language and Literature 6 Edition. Melbourne : University of Melbourne, School of Language and Linguistics , pp. 183-198.

Theses and dissertations

  • Fedden S. (2007) A grammar of Mian, a Papuan language of New Guinea. University of Melbourne
  • Fedden S. (2002) Nominale Klassifikationssysteme: Ein Vergleich zwischen Verbalklassifikation und Nominalklassen [Nominal classification systems: A comparison between verbal classifiers and noun classes]. University of Bielefeld


Paper presented at Décembrettes 8, 6-7 December 2012: Aspectual distinctions in Mian verb stems

Aspectual distinctions in Mian verb stems (780.81KB - Requires Adobe Reader)

Page Owner: of0006
Page Created: Monday 15 November 2010 12:14:37 by pe0007
Last Modified: Thursday 13 February 2014 11:46:08 by pe0007
Expiry Date: Wednesday 15 February 2012 12:11:01
Assembly date: Wed Apr 16 22:22:31 BST 2014
Content ID: 41580
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