Diversity in African languages: Selected papers from the 46th Annual Conference on African Linguistics

Doris L. Payne   Sara Pacchiarotti   Mokaya Bosire  


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.


  • Tone features revisited
    Evidence from Seenku
    Laura McPherson
  • Intonation and emotions in Kɔnni
    A preliminary study
    Michael Cahill
  • The coding of identifiability in Mooré
    Amos Teo
  • The syntactic status of objects in Mooré ditransitive constructions
    Sara Pacchiarotti
  • All-in-one and one-for-all
    Thetic structures in Buli grammar and discourse
    Anne Schwarz
  • Beyond resumptives and expletives in Akan
    Sampson Korsah
  • Valency changing processes in Akan
    E. Kweku Osam
  • Degema clitics and serial verb constructions at the syntax/phonology interface
    Nicholas Rolle, Ethelbert E. Kari
  • Coronal palatalization in Logoori
    Eleanor Glewwe, Ann M. Aly
  • Remote past and phonological processes in Kaonde
    Boniface Kawasha
  • The future in Logoori oral texts
    Hannah Sarvasy
  • Quantification in Logoori
    Meredith Landman
  • The syntactic structure of negation in Ndebele
    Ross Burkholder
  • The productivity of the reversive extension in Standard Swahili
    Deo Ngonyani, Nancy Jumwa Ngowa
  • The anticausative alternation in Luragooli
    John Gluckmann, Margit Bowler
  • The locative applicative and the semantics of verb class in Kinyarwanda
    Kyle Jerro
  • The Ndebele applicative construction
    Galen Sibanda
  • Differential object marking in Mozambican languages
    Armindoo Saúl Atelela Ngunga, Fábio Bonfim Duarte, Quesler Fagundes Camargos
  • The interaction of two focus marking strategies in Luganda
    Jenneke van der Wal, Saudah Namyalo
  • Variation in the expression of information structure in eastern Bantu languages
    Steve Nicolle
  • Number marking in Lopit, an Eastern Nilotic language
    Jonathan Moodie
  • Daatsʼíin, a newly identified undocumented language of western Ethiopia
    A preliminary examination
    Colleen Ahland
  • Somali gender polarity revisited
    Morgan Nilsson
  • The development of finite verbs from nominalized structures in Northern Mao
    Michael Ahland
  • Niger-Congo transitive reciprocal constructions and polysemy with reflexives
    Ken Safir, Naga Selvanathan
  • STAMP morphs in the Macro-Sudan Belt
    Gregory D.S. Anderson
  • Igbo-English intrasentential codeswitching and the Matrix Language Frame model
    Kelechukwu Ihemere
  • Humor in Kenyan comedy
    Martha Michieka, Leonard Muaka
Doris L. Payne, University of Oregon

Doris L. Payne is a professor at the University of Oregon and a consultant with SIL International. She has done original field work on languages of East Africa and the Americas. As a fieldworker, she focuses on all aspects of language structure but is especially interested in morphosyntax, discourse, and the lexical-syntactic interface. Together with Maasai colleagues, she is developing a trilingual Maasai-Swahili-English dictionary.

Sara Pacchiarotti, University of Oregon

Sara Pacchiarotti is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of Oregon. She is particularly interested in syntax, historical linguistics and language change. She has worked on Bribri (Chibchan), has broad experience with Indo-European languages, and is also interested in African languages.

Mokaya Bosire, University of Oregon

Mokaya Bosire studies Swahili, youth languages and urban vernaculars in the Swahili Nation including Sheng and Street Swahili. He is particularly interested in language contact, language variation and the interplay between language and power in post-colonial Africa. He teaches Swahili at the University of Oregon, Eugene.


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