Malin Petzell

Senior Lecturer

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

About Malin Petzell


I am a senior lecturer and researcher (reader/associate professor) in African linguistics at the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Gothenburg.

Before returning to Sweden in July 2010, I was a post-doctoral researcher in in the Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. My research interests include Bantu languages, language description (documentation and analysis), nominal and verbal morphosyntax, aspectual classification of verbs, language endangerment, and field methods.


Current research project

I am the PI of a research project (funded by VR) called To break or be broken ‒ A study of valency-decreasing alternations in East Ruvu Bantu languages. In this project are also Leora Bar-el (University of Montana) and Ponsiano Kanijo (MUCE, Tanzania), and former postdoc Sebastian Dom. The project investigates diachronic, semantic, and syntactic aspects of Bantu valency-decreasing verbal morphology, as well as its relation to and effect on verbal semantics in the East Ruvu languages, a genealogical group of six under-analysed Bantu languages spoken in Tanzania. Despite their close genetic relationship, there is a significant degree of grammatical diversity among these languages which makes them ideal for a comparative study. The project will be the first comprehensive documentation and analysis of valency-decreasing morphology in these languages, and will involve data collection through linguistic fieldwork in the Morogoro region of central Tanzania.

Earlier research

My previous research projects:

  • The semantics of verbal morphology in central Tanzanian Bantu languages: a comparative study (RJ)
  • An analysis of an endangered language - the Kami in Tanzania (RJ)
  • Untangling the dialect continuum in the Morogoro region, Tanzania (VR)