Fokelien Kootstra received her PhD in linguistics from Leiden University (2019). She holds a research MA in linguistics (2014) and a BA in Arabic (2011) from Leiden University. She wrote her PhD dissertation, under the supervision of Ahmad Al-Jallad and Petra Sijpesteijn, on the pre-Islamic inscriptions from ancient Dadān, an oasis town in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula (title: The writing culture of ancient Dadān; a description and quantitative analysis of linguistic variation).
Following her PhD she spent a year at New York University, as a visiting research scholar, at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World where she started working on the language of the Arabic documents written on papyri (7th-9th centuries AD). As a FWO junior postdoc, she is currently working on a project that focuses on the linguistic variation attested in these documents. Using insights from socio-historical linguistics she will investigate how linguistic variation correlates with extra-linguistic features such as time, place and register. This will shed light on the development of Arabic in these everyday written documents, and lay the groundwork for understanding the development of the Classical Arabic standard and its interplay with everyday written practice. For this project she collaborates closely with the ERC funded Everyday Writing project.