Short CV/Education and training

  • Since 2006
    Professor of Sign Language Linguistics, University of Central Lancashire, UK

  • 2003 – 2006
    Research Fellow under the German Research Council's Emmy-Noether Programme, Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, NL

  • 2001 – 2006
    Academic Consultant, Indian Sign Language Cell, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, India

  • 1999 – 2003
    Research Fellow, Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, Melbourne, Australia

  • 1996 – 2000
    PhD in linguistics, University of Cologne

  • 1990 – 1996
    MA in linguistics, oriental studies and English, University of Cologne, Germany

Selected publications

  • Zeshan, U. (forthcoming 2020) Serious Games in Co-creative Facilitation: Experiences from Cross-Sectoral work with Deaf Communities. Ishara Research Series No.5. Lancaster: Ishara Press.

  • Zeshan, U. & Webster, J. (eds.) (2019) Sign Multlingualism. Sign Language Typology Series No. 7. Berlin a.o.: De Gruyter Mouton & Lancaster: Ishara Press.

  • Zeshan, U. & Palfreyman, N. (2017) Sign Language Typology. In A.Y. Aikhenvald & R.M.W. Dixon (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology (pp. 178-216). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Byun, K.S., Bradford, A., Zeshan, U., Levinson, S. C., & de Vos, C. (2017) First encounters: Repair sequences in cross-signing. Topics in Cognitive Science, Special Issue on Miscommunication, pp. 1-21. doi: 10.1111/tops.12303

  • Gillen, J., U. Papen, S. Panda & U. Zeshan (2016) Peer to Peer Deaf Literacy – Working with young deaf people and peer tutors in India, Language and Language Teaching 5 10, 1-7.

  • Sagara, K. & U. Zeshan (eds.) (2016) Semantic Fields in Sign Languages. Colour, Kinship and Quantification. Sign Language Typology Series No. 6. Berlin a.o.: De Gruyter Mouton & Lancaster: Ishara Press.

  • Zeshan, U. & Panda, S. (2015) Two languages at hand: Code-switching in bilingual signers. Sign Language & Linguistics 18(1): 90–131.

  • Zeshan, U. (2015) “Making meaning” – Communication between sign language users without a shared language. Cognitive Linguistics 26(2): 211–260.

  • Zeshan, U., Escobedo Delgado, C.E., Dikyuva, H., Panda, S. & de Vos, C. (2013) Cardinal numerals in village sign languages – Approaching cross-modal typology. Linguistic Typology 17(3): 357-396.

  • Zeshan, U. & Dikyuva, H. (2013) Documentation of Endangered Sign Languages – The Case of Mardin Sign Language. In: Jones, M. & Ogilvie, S. (eds.) Keeping Languages Alive: Documentation, Pedagogy, and Revitalization. Cambridge: CUP, pp. 29-41.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Principal Investigator, Economic and Social Research Council and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UK "Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies", 2017 – 2021

  • Principal Investigator, Economic and Social Research Council and Department for International Development funded programme "Raising Learning Outcomes"; project on deaf literacy, 2015 – 2016

  • Principal Investigator, European Research Council, project “Multilingual behaviours in sign language users”, 2011 – 2016

  • Principal Investigator, EUROCORES, EuroBabel (European Science Foundation / AHRC), project “Endangered sign languages in village communities”, 2009 – 2013

  • Principal Investigator, Education Partnerships in Africa Programme (British Council), “Training and employability for the deaf communities in Ghana and Uganda”, 2009 – 2011

  • Project director (Emmy Noether Programme, German Research Council, DFG), "Typology of sign languages – Comparative linguistic studies of sign languages", 2003 – 2008

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Member of Academia Europaea

  • Member of the Sign Language and Linguistics Society and Association for Linguistic Typology

  • Member of the peer review college, Education and Social Science Research Council, England

  • Peer reviewer for Australian Research Council, National Science Foundation (US), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Volkswagen Foundation, Leverhulme Trust (UK)

  • Peer reviews for journals, including Language, Linguistics, Sign Language and Linguistics

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Soft Skills

  • Strongly multilingual and multicultural, Coordination and facilitation, especially across different sectors and with diverse communities

Other activities and achievements/family

  • One adult son, Music (choir, piano and flute), Eco-village development in India


You can only see the contact information of the academics in the database if you are a registered user of AcademiaNet.
Please register here


  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.

Similar profiles

  1. Prof. Dr. Andrea Albrecht

    Social and behavioural sciences, Languages, Literary studies, recent German literature, cultural studies

  2. Dr. Naalamle Amissah

    Agriculture, Education, Plant propagation, urban horticulture, vegetable grafting, medicinal plant research, tissue culture, climate change & indigenous crop species

  3. Dr. Brigitte Adriaensen

    Social and behavioural sciences, Languages, Hispanic Literature

  4. Dr. Maria Anisimova

    Biological and related sciences, Education, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Mathematics and statistics, Bioinformatics, Computational genomics and modeling Molecular evolution



  1. Best of interviews from 10 years of AcademiaNet

    We have dug deep into the AcademiaNet archives of the last ten years to present you some of the most interesting interviews we published in our news section. Join us on a throwback journey with interviews that are still relevant today.

  2. Prof. Ulrike Zeshan: Communication across language barriers

    Ulrike Zeshan and her unique team of deaf academics at the University of Central Lancashire work closely with deaf communities around the world to understand how sign languages vary in different countries - and to empower these communities.

Academia Net