Nov 092012

African Languages: Joint Conference of the West African Linguistic Society (WALS) and the Linguistic Association of Nigeria (LAN), University of Ibadan, Ibadan Nigeria, July 29 – August 2, 2013

Conference Theme: Research, Documentation and Sustainability in the Development of West African Languages
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Map of languages of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ben...

Map of languages of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin, showing subgrooups of the systematics of the Niger-Congo-family such as exmples of the Atlantic branch (Ful), the Mande branch (Bokobaru), the North-Volta-group of the Volta-Congo-branch (parts of Kru and of Adamawa-Ubangui), of the South-Volta Group most of West Benue, the whole Platoid, Cross River, and North Bantoid groups, all non-Bantu of the South Bantoid Group, and the northwestern edge of the Bantu area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite years of scholarly research a large percentage of the indigenous languages of West Africa have not been documented. Several of the languages are at the risk of being lost. Greater attention to diversity, environment and sustainability in the global discourse has not reflected much in terms of support for and development of indigenous languages. Although there is a heightened sense of activities and activism for language documentation, there has been no commensurate attention to the very important aspects of description, development, modernization and integration of local (West African) languages with global information infrastructure. This appears to be leading us once more to the ideological issue of resource exploitation. The critical question remains, how do we make West African Languages relevant and work for those who speak them? We are once more forced to rethink the role of the linguist and interrogate West African Languages Curricula in the face of emerging r!
ealities. The task of language documentation is particularly necessary so as to plan the future with the past, since information/facts derived from such efforts can have positive impact on current and future linguistic endeavours.

The aim of the conference is to explore the different perspectives from which language studies reflects or impacts on the different aspects of human endeavour. In addition it seeks to foreground the various areas in which language and linguistics interface with diverse capacities and disciplines. Given the current realities of modern human life it seems increasingly compelling for Linguists to find common grounds with other disciplines while emphasizing language as a core human capacity. The conference brings together researchers and students in the various fields of language studies as well as aspects of professional life in which indigenous languages play a part. This is expected to motivate an exchange of ideas and promote discussions of, progress in and development of these areas in West African languages. We hope that through the conference participants will be able to consider the issue of sustainability in research and practice.

The sub themes of the conference include (but are not limited to):

Language Typologies
Morphology and Syntax
Phonetics and Phonology
Semantics, Pragmatics and Discourse
Language Shift, Maintenance and Documentation
Language and Education
Language Policy and Language Management
Language, the Media and ICT
Language and the Community
Language and Industry
Language and Medicine
Language and Governance
Language and Business
Language and Law
Language and Poverty
Language and Migration
Cross-border Languages and Regional Cooperation
Cognitive Corpus Linguistics and Corpus-based Computational Linguistics
Language Competition: Ex-colonial Languages vs. Indigenous West African Languages
Literature, Film and Popular Culture
Language, Gender and Power
Language, Identity, Culture and Translation
Language, Peace and Conflict

Call for Papers:

Participants are invited to submit abstracts dealing with any of the sub themes and other related areas. They can be up to a maximum of 300 words long. It must be typed in a 12- point font and in both word and pdf file formats. Deadline for the submission of abstracts is March 31, 2013.

Individuals and organisations who would like to present demos and organise workshops/special events should contact the LOC Secretary, Dr Oye Taiwo, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria through the email address:

Abstracts can be submitted through the following email addresses: (Chairman, Abstract sub-committee: Dr Tayo Lamidi); (Secretary, LOC: Dr Oye Taiwo).

Further information will be provided through the WALS website and the conference website which should be up shortly.

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