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Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics 2022

Monday 29 August 2022 - Wednesday 31 August 2022
Hybrid | More information later

We are pleased to invite you to the 52nd Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics (CALL 2022) to be held in Leiden from Monday 29 August up to and including 31 August 2022. CALL will be hybrid: You can either present in person or on-line. In person presentations are video-taped and broadcasted for on-line participants and on-line presentations need to be sent to us ahead of time (before 15 August 2022) as a video file (.mp4). The morning of Monday 29th 2022 is devoted to workshops. If you intend to organise a workshop in this slot, please let us know before March 1, 2022.

Participants and talks

In the attachment you will find a list of the participants that have registered for CALL, and the proposed titles of their talks. See for the participants and talks. If you find any mistakes, please let us know!

See for the CALL program schedule.


The registration fee will be 20 euro (10 euro for (PhD-)students), to be paid on the first day of the colloquium. On-line participants do not pay registration but need to register. On Monday evening a dinner will be organized (extra costs 25 euro). If you would like to attend the dinner, please let us know well ahead.

In case you need an official letter of acceptance of your participation, please let us know. If you need a visa to enter the Netherlands, make sure to start procedures well ahead of time. Unfortu­nately it is not possible to provide financial assistance.


We suggest you try to book your own accommodation. You can find a list of suitable addresses attached.


This invitation is sent to participants of recent CALL's and to some other addresses. Please share this information with interested colleagues and students at your institution and beyond. The CALL website will be updated regularly with more information.


Convenors: Bert van Pinxteren and Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju
Contact address: l.m.c.van.pinxteren@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Format: Hybrid

In Tanzania, Swahili is being used at the national level and has official status. Swahili is also used in several surrounding countries, including Kenya and DR Congo. However, Swahili is not being used as a medium of instruction in higher education; in general, it does not enjoy the same status English has. 

In South Africa, nine Bantu languages have official status. In spite of this, English dominance is increasing in that country. In the DRC Kituba, Lingala and Tshiluba are used as lingua franca in addition to Swahili. However, French remains the official language. In Rwanda and Burundi, Rwanda-Rundi is spoken by just about the entire population, but English and French are the official languages.

The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) has identified a number of African languages as Vehicular Cross-border Languages, with the vision that these can be used to facilitate communication between countries.

For Botswana, Chebanne and Van Pinxteren (2021) have argued that a gradual transition to using African languages in domains such as higher education in that country will become unavoidable, if only for economic reasons. They propose five key principles for making rational choices in this area (limited number of languages, ease of learning, inclusivity, using multilingualism, linguistic collaboration). The distinction between discerned and designed languages helps in understanding why such choices are defensible. These principles build on the ideas of authors such as Prah.

This workshop will explain and explore the theoretical framework used by Chebanne and Van Pinxteren. This should open up a new area of debate and discussion. The general method proposed by Chebanne and Van Pinxteren needs, by their own admittance, to be supplemented by more detailed linguistic knowledge as well as by an appreciation of what would be culturally appropriate and acceptable. Thus, participants will be challenged to reflect on what this approach would mean for the countries and languages they are familiar with and what perspectives they see for developing a discourse aimed at promoting the use of African languages in more and more domains.

Convenor: Joseph Lovestrand
Contact address: jl119@soas.ac.uk
Format: Everything online


Chadic languages have long been of interest to phonologists, in particular in regard to word prosodies: cases of vowel and consonant harmony in which phonological features are spread across an entire word (Lionnet & Hyman 2018: 633–646; Wolff 2021: 55–61). The most extreme cases of word prosodies are found in Central Chadic languages, while less extreme examples of phonological feature sharing are common throughout the language family (Pearce & Lovestrand forthcoming). Chadic languages also tend to have complex morphology, in particular in the verbal system where pronominal markers and other verbal morphemes (often called “extensions”) may have ambiguous status in regard to whether they are part of the verb (i.e., suffixes) or not (i.e., particles) (Jungraithmayr & Tourneux 1987). Since Chadic languages have both complex morphology and phonological processes that extend across a domain associated with wordhood, they are likely to exhibit patterns of conflicting criteria for wordhood of the type that has raised questions about the theoretical validity of wordhood and the morphology-syntax divide more generally (Tallman 2020). Of particular interest are cases where the domain of prosody or harmony does not match morphosyntactic criteria for wordhood, however, presentations on aspects of the phonology or morphology of Chadic languages will also be included in the workshop.  

  • Jungraithmayr, Herrmann & Henry Tourneux (eds.). 1987. Études tchadiques, Classes et extensions verbales. Paris: Geuthner.
  • Lionnet, Florian & Larry M Hyman. 2018. Current issues in African phonology. In Tom Güldemann (ed.), The languages and linguistics of Africa, 602–708. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Pearce, Mary & Joseph Lovestrand. forthcoming. Vowel harmony in Chadic languages. In Harry van der Hulst & Nancy Ritter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Vowel Harmony. Oxford University Press.

    Wolff, H. Ekkehard. 2021. Historical phonology of Central Chadic: Prosodies and lexical reconstruction. Cambridge Univ Press.
  • Tallman, Adam J. R. 2020. Beyond grammatical and phonological words. Language and Linguistics Compass 14(2).

Convenor: Maarten Mous
Contact address: m.mous@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Format: Hybrid (mostly in situ)

In our Linguistic History of East Africa project, www.lheaf.org, we are struggling with the history of the Bantu languages in East Africa and one of the ways we approach history is by studying language contact. We have some observations that our team members would like to try out in this workshop and we hope for more (short) presentations with (long) discussion on contact phenomena in EA Bantu and what it tells us about EA’s linguistic history. The workshop is live in Leiden with an online option. Non-presenters are very welcome but indicate if you want to attend so that we book the suitable size of room

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