Since the hiring of its first Africanist linguist Carleton Hodge in 1964, Indiana University’s Department of Linguistics has had a strong and continuing presence in the study of African languages and linguistics through the work of its faculty and of its graduates on the faculties of many other universities. Research on African linguistics at IU has covered some of the major language groups spoken on the African continent. Carleton Hodge’s work on Ancient Egyptian and Hausa, Paul Newman’s work on Hausa and Chadic languages, and Roxanna Ma Newman’s work on Hausa language structure and pedagogy have been some of the most important studies on Afro-Asiatic linguistics. With respect to Niger-Congo languages, the work of Charles Bird on Bambara and the Mande languages, Robert Botne’s work on Bantu structure (especially tense and aspect), Samuel Obeng and Colin Painter’s work on Ghanaian Languages (phonetics, phonology, and pragmatics), Robert Port’s studies on Swahili, and Erhard Voeltz's studies on Bantu linguistics are considered some of the most influential studies in the sub-field. On Nilo Saharan languages, the work of Tim Shopen on Songhay stands out. IU Linguistics has also forwarded theoretical work on African languages, such as John Goldsmith’s seminal research on tone in African languages. The African linguistics faculty at IU have either founded or edited important journals in African Studies, African languages, and African linguistics, including Africa Today, Studies in African Linguistics, and Journal of African Languages and Linguistics.
In 1972, the Indiana University Department of Linguistics hosted the Third Annual Conference of African Linguistics. Proceedings of that conference were published by Indiana University Publications (African Series, vol. 7). In 1986, IU hosted the Seventeenth Annual Conference of African Linguistics with Paul Newman and Robert Botne editing the proceedings in a volume entitled Current Approaches to African Linguistics, vol. 5. In 2016, Indiana University hosted the 48th Annual Conference on African Linguistics with the theme African Linguistics Across the Disciplines. Proceedings of that meeting are published in this volume.
The papers presented in this volume reflect the diversity of opportunities for language study in Africa. This collection of descriptive and theoretical work is the fruit of data gathering both in-country and abroad by researchers of languages spoken across the continent, from Sereer-sin in the west to Somali in the northeast to Ikalanga in the south. The range of topics in this volume is also broad, representative of the varied field work in country and abroad that inspires research in African linguistics. This collection of papers spans the disciplines of phonology (both segmental and suprasegmental), morphology (both morphophonological and morphosyntactic), syntax, semantics, and language policy. The data and analyses presented in this volume offer a cross-disciplinary view of linguistic topics from the many under-resourced languages of Africa.View less
The papers in this volume were presented at the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics at UC Berkeley in 2016. The papers offer new descriptions of African languages and propose novel theoretical analyses of them. The contributions span topics in phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics and reflect the typological and genetic diversity of languages in Africa. Four papers in the volume examine Areal Features and Linguistic Reconstruction in Africa, and were presented at a special workshop on this topic held alongside the general session of ACAL.View less
African Linguistics on the Prairie features select revised peer-reviewed papers from the 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, held at the University of Kansas. The articles in this volume reflect the enormous diversity of African languages, as they focus on languages from all of the major African language phyla. The articles here also reflect the many different research perspectives that frame the work of linguists in the Association for Contemporary African Linguistics. The diversity of views presented in this volume are thus indicative of the vitality of current African linguistics research. The work presented in this volume represents both descriptive and theoretical methodologies and covers fields ranging from phonetics, phonology, morphology, typology, syntax, and semantics to sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, language acquisition, computational linguistics and beyond. This broad scope and the quality of the articles contained within holds out the promise of continued advancement in linguistic research on African languages.View less
Diversity in African Languages contains a selection of revised papers from the 46th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, held at the University of Oregon. Most chapters focus on single languages, addressing diverse aspects of their phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, information structure, or historical development. These chapters represent nine different genera: Mande, Gur, Kwa, Edoid, Bantu, Nilotic, Gumuzic, Cushitic, and Omotic. Other chapters investigate a mix of languages and families, moving from typological issues to sociolinguistic and inter-ethnic factors that affect language and accent switching. Some chapters are primarily descriptive, while others push forward the theoretical understanding of tone, semantic problems, discourse related structures, and other linguistic systems. The papers on Bantu languages reflect something of the internal richness and continued fascination of the family for linguists, as well as maturation of research on the family. The distribution of other papers highlights the need for intensified research into all the language families of Africa, including basic documentation, in order to comprehend linguistic diversities and convergences across the continent. In this regard, the chapter on Daats’íin (Gumuzic) stands out as the first-ever published article on this hitherto unknown and endangered language found in the Ethiopian-Sudanese border lands.View less
Nyakyusa is an underdescribed Bantu language spoken by around 800.000 speakers in the Mbeya Region of Tanzania. This book provides a detailled description of the verb in this language. The topics covered include the complex morphophonological and morphological processes as well as verb-to-verb derivation, copula verbs and grammaticalized verbs of motion. The main body of the book consists of a detailed description of tense, aspect and modality constructions, which includes not only an in-depth discussion of their sentence level semantics, but also of their patterns of employment in discourse.View less