Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Dr. Jakob Lesage

Werdegang | Publikationen | Unveröffentlichte Publikationen | Projekte
Dr. Jakob Lesage
wiss. Mitarb.
jakob.lesage (at)

Humboldt-Universität → Präsidium → Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät → Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften → Afrikanische Sprachen
Funktion / Sachgebiet
wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im Fachgebiet
Invalidenstraße 118 , Raum 411
(030) 2093 66006
nach Vereinbarung per Email
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin


In the 2024 Summer Semester, I'm teaching two courses. Interested students can reach out to me with any questions:

  • Introduction to the languages of Africa
  • Language in Southern Africa


As a linguist with a focus on African languages, I specialize in language documentation, particularly in documenting endangered or understudied languages in Nigeria. My research and publications, including my PhD thesis, have contributed to the description and analysis of Kam, a Niger-Congo language spoken in Central-Eastern Nigeria. My recent work has emphasized natural interaction and community-driven ethnographic documentation, reflecting my commitment to collaborative and community-based approaches to language documentation.

My research on remote fieldwork methods for language documentation, including planning and conducting remote fieldwork, has resulted in courses and training for students preparing for fieldwork and for native speaker collaborators in Nigeria, particularly for speakers of Kam.

In addition to my expertise in African languages, I contribute to linguistic typology through my work on typological databases like Grambank. My publications have highlighted gaps in grammatical descriptions and the insights that can be gained from using typological databases for cross-linguistic comparison.

My current research also explores linguistic approaches to studying the history and dispersal of words and concepts in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on the spread of words for 'iron'. I use this topic, among others, to explore the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary research that aims to understand the human past.