Iris Kamil

Linguist and Assyriologist


I began my studies in 2016 with a B.A. in (General) Linguistics at the University of Vienna. Between 2019-2021 my M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Philology and Oriental Archaeology was funded with the Late Babylonian Priestly Literature project, headed by the University of Vienna and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since March 2021 I have studied towards an M.A. in Indo-European Studies and Historical Linguistics, set to conclude July 2022. Among all the degrees and titles (which Austria teaches you to carry with a little too much pride than should be considered healthy), I identify most with the title ‘linguist’, but my work currently (and hopefully in the future, too) sets out to combine the two disciplines, so that ‘Assyriologist’ is a title I carry with just as much pride.

View from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

Academically, I am very passionate about bettering our understanding of Proto-Semitic by trying out and developing new theoretical methodologies for reconstruction. Thereby, my main languages of focus are (Babylonian) Akkadian and Gəʿəz. Both my upcoming MA thesis and my planned dissertation attempt to demonstrate “New Roads to Proto-Semitic” by the Akkadian and Ethiosemitic example.

In a less broad sense, I work predominantly on Akkadian morphosyntax and morphophonology; lately on pluractionalisation, the t-morpheme, and the Akkadian Stative. Some other languages of interest in recent years were Tocharian and Sumerian (although the latter more out of necessity in the Assyriological field).

My work in Assyriology thus far focussed on Ancient Near Eastern religion, specifically on Late Babylonian Priestly Literature. I am very interested in epistolary corpora for their insights into the more “natural” registres of Akkadian as well as into Ancient Near Eastern multilingualism.

As should be every linguist’s professional hobby, I love learning languages, especially (extinct) languages of the past, but I do try to also learn some modern languages every now and then. Some past obsessions include Japanese, Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic), and Poetevin-Séntunjhaes (Poitevin-Saintongeais, a langue d’oïl, spoken in today’s Western France), a current one is Basque, which I swore to myself to one day be fluent in.

For more information, you may reference my Curriculum Vitae:

Outside of academia, I always struggle to distribute my time equally between all my hobbies, among which are most notably both music and art, which I like to enjoy and produce in equal parts. I have two very cute dogs (a husky and a greater Swiss mountain dog) who tried to convert me into being a sports-person, but found themselves instead convinced to take on a gourmet-food-loving couch-potato life. That being said, having been born by the shore of the Mediterranean sea, I do love swimming and the Alps made me learn to love hiking. 24 hours a day are simply not enough to do everything one wants to do!

Bonus: a gallery of all of our family’s dogs!