Eva-Marie Karin Bloom Ström

Senior Lecturer

Linguistics and Theory of Science
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Eva-Marie Karin Bloom Ström



PhD in African languages 2013 (University of Gothenburg); Associate Professor/Reader since 2020. MA in African languages 1993 (Leiden University, the Netherlands). I have taught field methods, Somali, various linguistics courses and a course titled Language & Society in Africa. Before embarking on my PhD, I worked in the Netherlands for 17 years, mainly with adult education and IT. I also lived in England for 2 years and in South Africa for 3 years. I grew up in Sollerön, Sweden.


I am interested in how language can be structured based on the intents of the speaker and on the speaker’s assumptions regarding the listener’s pre-existing knowledge. This is called information structure and is especially important in languages with a flexible sentence structure such as the Bantu languages. In my analyses, I use the function of language as a starting point and put it in a typological perspective. I’m also interested in how we got to where we are, i.e. the historical background and grammaticalization. I’m fascinated by variations between languages and dialects and find it important to study languages in their social context.

My current research project, funded by the Swedish Research Council, is called How do words get in order? The role of speaker-hearer interaction in languages of southern Africa. The project studies grammatical constructions in relation to meaning and information structure. It is a follow-up of a previous research project on information structure and word order in Bantu, or, more precisely, how the verb phrase and word order contribute to the expression of definiteness.

After finishing my PhD, I obtained an international postdoc position hosted by Rhodes University, situated in Grahamstown in the heartland of the Xhosa-speaking area. The aim of my postdoc project was to describe and analyse morpho-syntactic microvariation in the dialect cluster of Xhosa, a Bantu language of South Africa.

My PhD thesis is a grammatical description of Ndengeleko, focusing on phonology and the morphology of verb and noun phrases. It is the first linguistic study of Ndengeleko and includes a survey of the sociolinguistic situation of the region, with a discussion of the endangerment of the language. The study shows that the language is rapidly being replaced by the dominant language of the region, Swahili. My MA thesis analysed number formation in Burunge, a Southern Cushitic language spoken outside Kondoa, Tanzania.

I base my research on data collected through fieldwork. Especially when starting from scratch with a language or specific construction, elicitation is a useful method. Mostly, however, I use recorded and transcribed natural speech in my analyses, as I am above all interested in how language is actually used. This includes recorded narratives, dialogues and procedural descriptions. I’m interested in using a variety of methods in my fieldwork and have an ambition to continuously improve myself when it comes to e.g. ethical considerations, archiving and metadata.

Publications to appear

BLOOM STRÖM, Eva-Marie and Malin PETZELL. Micro-variation approaches to Bantu language varieties. In L. Marten, N. C. Kula, J. Zeller and E. Hurst (eds): The Oxford Guide to the Bantu Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BLOOM STRÖM, Eva-Marie, Hannah GIBSON, Rozenn GUÉROIS and Lutz MARTEN (eds) In Approaches to morphosyntactic variation in Bantu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BLOOM STRÖM, Eva-Marie and Matti MIESTAMO. The use of the augment in Nguni languages with special reference to the referentiality of the noun. In E.-M. Bloom Ström, H. Gibson, R. Guérois and L. Marten (eds): Approaches to morphosyntactic variation in Bantu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MARTEN, Lutz, Hannah GIBSON, Rozenn GUÉROIS and Eva-Marie BLOOM STRÖM. Morphosyntactic variation in Bantu: An introduction. In E.-M. Bloom Ström, H. Gibson, R. Guérois and L. Marten (eds): Approaches to morphosyntactic variation in Bantu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.