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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Rubicon grant to UvA linguist Konrad Rybka, who will conduct research for a period of two years at the University of California, Berkley (US).

The Rubicon programme is aimed at giving promising young researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. A total of 106 researchers submitted a proposal during the current round, 17 of which were accepted. The funding amount depends on the chosen destination and the duration of stay (maximum of 24 months).

Lexical borrowing in the Amazon

Rybka receives the Rubicon grant for his research project ‘Rethinking Contact in Amazonia through the Patterns of Linguistic and Socio-cultural Exchange in the Guianas’. For socio-cultural reasons, Amazonian people deprecate lexical borrowing. Surprisingly, Guianan languages share many plant, animal, star, and tool names. Rybka will investigate this phenomenon to understand the mechanisms moderating lexical borrowing.

Earlier this year, Rybka obtained his PhD with the dissertation The Linguistic Encoding of Landscape in Lokono. His dissertation focuses on Lokono, a critically endangered Arawakan language spoken in the Guyanas and Suriname.