KU to host major linguistic conference on African languages

Wed, 04/09/2014

Contact

Kristi Henderson
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
785-864-3663

LAWRENCE – The world’s premier conference for linguistic research on African languages will be hosted this year at the University of Kansas.

More than 200 attendees from the U.S., Africa and Europe will travel to Lawrence for the 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics from April 17 to 19. The conference is hosted by the KU Department of Linguistics.

A unique feature of this year’s conference is a special KU undergraduate session dedicated to increasing awareness of language endangerment and the plight of Africa’s endangered languages. Registration costs will be waived for all KU students. Interested students should contact Harold Torrence at 785-864-2882 or acal45@ku.edu for more details. 

In addition to a robust schedule of conference sessions, two KU linguistic researchers have organized a special workshop called “Africa’s Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches.” The workshop, featuring major speakers from the U.S. and abroad, will emphasize the synergistic relationship between documentation and linguistic theory in endangered African language research. It’s supported by funding from the National Science Foundation secured by Torrence, associate professor, and Jason Kandybowicz, assistant professor.

Participants will include well-known researchers, students, community language activists and independent researchers. The conference emphasizes both descriptive and theoretical perspectives from all sub-disciplines of linguistic inquiry as well as both narrow and comparative/cross-linguistic analyses of African languages.

KU faculty and graduate students giving presentations represent a variety of disciplines: Carlos Nash, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology; Ibrahima Ba and Mfon Udoinyang, doctoral students, and Torrence and Kandybowicz, Department of Linguistics.

The conference also provides African scholars, a highly underrepresented group in academia, and junior researchers an opportunity to present their work and get feedback from both their peers and established researchers.

“KU is distinct among peers in our strengths in African languages,” Torrence said. “Our linguistics department is very strong in research in this area, with active faculty and graduate and undergraduate work. This is augmented by the work in the Kansas African Studies Center and Department of African and African-American Studies, both of which are involved in teaching several African languages at multiple levels.”  

More information about the conference is available at the 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics’ website

The conference is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Kansas African Studies Center, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Office of the Provost.

All presenting departments are in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.



KU in the news
Christian Science MonitorThu, 08/21/2014
Columbia Journalism ReviewThu, 08/21/2014
Yesterday we introduced you to KU professor Rolfe Mandel and the discoveries he and his students are making. Watch this video to learn more. Tags: #KUdiscoveries #KUresearch #Archeology #Plains

#KUgrad brings personal experience into study of nation's #fostercare system. http://t.co/UWpibWjg5A
KU ODYSSEY team digs for clues to ancient Pleistocene people Searching for evidence of early people living on the plains in the late Pleistocene age, (see http://bit.ly/1li6uYX) Rolfe Mandel, a KU distinguished professor of anthropology, led an excavation in July 2014 in the “Coffey Site” along the Big Blue River bank in Pottawatomie County, Kansas. Mandel says artifacts from Pleistocene period sediments could provide more clues about the Clovis and pre-Clovis people, who were the founding inhabitants of the Americas.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times