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The Third International Workshop on the Sociolinguistics of Language Endangerment took place at Yunnan University of Nationalities in Kunming, China on October 22 – 23, 2014. The hosting university, with its 15,000 students, focuses on the cultures and languages of the 26 minorities of the Yunnan province.
CALDi hosted visiting scholars Professor Lutz Marten from SOAS, University of London, and Dr Nancy Kula from the University of Essex from the 20th of July to the 14th of September 2014.
The Tanzanian ethnic community language Kagulu is in extended language contact with the national language Swahili and other neighbouring community languages. The effects of contact are seen in vocabulary and structure, and are associated with different speaker generations and distinct varieties of ‘pure’ and ‘mixed’ Kagulu.
Swahili, a Bantu language of East Africa, is one of the most widely spoken African languages. Originally spoken along the East African coast from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, it is now used by about 80 million speakers as a language of wider communication in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the DRC and neighbouring countries.
On the 5th of September 2014, several CALDi members and two visiting scholars from the UK, Lutz Marten and Nancy Kula, left for a three day excursion to the Cederberg Mountains.
The Southern Bantu Languages Network (SBL–Net) will be launched at the Centre for African Language Diversity (CALDi), University of Cape Town. SBL-Net will be a forum for emerging linguists (postdoctoral fellows, postgraduate students, recent postgraduates, etc.) with a research focus on Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa (SADC countries). Scholars are invited to engage with others, discuss their research and collaborate on joint projects and publications. CALDi recognises the importance of promoting African linguistics and SBL-Net aims to actively promote and support the linguistic studies of African languages among home language speakers of Bantu languages.
On September 3, 2014, CALDi held a workshop on Bantu languages. Lutz Marten from SOAS, University of London, Nancy Kula from the University of Essex and Axel Fleisch from the University of Helsinki presented stimulating papers which discussed their own research in the wider context of Bantu language studies.
The Bemba (Bantu, M42) tense system is currently undergoing a change that is resulting in a reconfiguration of the forms used to express the intermediate past.
The talk investigates linguistic area type effects in Bantu to gauge to what extent Bantu can be analysed as an areal, as well as (or even rather than?) a genetic unit. It is based on largely on morphosyntactic evidence of structural convergence, looking at quantitative evidence and specific case studies.
Bantu vowel harmony has been described in a number of works (e.g. Hyman 1999), and has often been taken as evidence for the special status of the ‘final vowel’ as either inflectional, or as merely fulfilling prosodic requirements on syllable structure.
The Nǁng (Nǀuu) conference focused on the study of Nǁng (Nǀuu) and its related non-Bantu click languages, such as ǀXam, ǁXegwi and Taa. The main areas addressed during the conference were:
The Mambiloid languages are Bantoid languages spoken in the Cameroon-Nigeria borderland. Our postdoctoral fellow, Dr Marieke Martin has been working on the language Wawa [www] since 2007 and completed a grammatical description of Wawa as her PhD thesis.