Helene Kammensjö

Senior Lecturer

Department of Languages and Literatures
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Helene Kammensjö


I have a long and diverse background in the field of Arabic language as a student, teacher and researcher. 2006-2017 I also worked in the area of municipal adult education as an education coordinator for the City of Gothenburg’s department for labour market issues and adult education. My assignments with the City have consisted of for example review and follow-up work and educational development. A long time ago I also taught adults Swedish as a second language and worked as a volunteer aid worker (my most recent assignment was in northern Sudan 1998-2002).


Teaching and aspects thereof have been a recurring and natural theme throughout my life. My Bachelor’s studies consisted of, besides Arabic, courses in Swedish as a second language (or Swedish for immigrants as it was called back then). Accordingly, I have for some periods of time taught both Swedish as a second language and Arabic. From 1993 to 1998, I was in charge of the Bachelor’s programme in Arabic. Since 2013 I teach Arabic at the intermediate and in-depth levels (first cycle) on a half-time basis.

Doctoral thesis

In autumn 2004, I finished my PhD after presenting a doctoral thesis titled Discourse Connectives in Arabic Lecturing Monologue (Kammensjö 2005). It deals with connectives and text cohesion in the type of spoken Arabic that is generally referred to as Educated Spoken Arabic (ESA) and that is common in academic teaching. The material consisted of audio-recorded and transcribed lectures in geography and history from four universities in the Arabic world. ESA is characterised by a great deal of variation as the language continuously alternates between the norms for written and spoken language. The differences between the two varieties are quite significant in the Arabic countries and are commonly used as a prime example of so-called diglossia, where two, often closely related, varieties co-exist in a society with clear differences in function and status. Thus, the thesis bridges the fields of text linguistics and sociolinguistics.


From 2007 to 2012, I participated as an Arabist in two consecutive research projects concerning Semitic languages. The projects were supported by the Swedish Research Council and led by Bo Isaksson, professor of Semitic languages at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University. The purpose of the research has been to create adequate descriptions of circumstantial clauses and in extension hypotactic clause linking in different Semitic varieties such as Hebrew, classic and modern Arabic, Arabic dialect in the first project, with the addition of South Arabian, Ethiopian languages and Akkadian in the second. The second project included, in addition to four Swedish researchers with different areas of specialisations, three researchers from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I contributed to the projects with studies of two different Arabic corpora, one consisting of modern Arabic literary prose and the other of published texts in Egyptian dialect. The projects have resulted in two publications published by the Harrassowitz Publishing House in Germany (see Publications).

Current areas of interest

Text linguistics

I continue my research within Arabic text linguistics where my primary interests are cohesion, clause combining and text typology. My present project, which has the work title “Temporal subjunctions in written Arabic, as a tool for distinguishing specific text types, through corpus study”, aims at contributing to the creation of a typology of texts in Arabic.


My other interests are concerned with Arabic sociolinguistics, including linguistic variation and diglossia in Arabic speech communities, in addition to linguistic ideologies and policies in the Arab countries and in Sweden, where Arabic has become the largest language spoken after Swedish.