Friday, June 10, 2016

Upcoming events: Bantu 6, Borderland Linguistics, LSSA/SAALA/SAALT, and TripleA 3

Having spotlighted ICTD 2016 last week and the upcoming TALAf 2016 workshop, here are three four more conferences taking place over the next few weeks whose subjects are directly or indirectly relevant to African languages.

Bantu 6

The 6th International Conference on Bantu Languages, 20-22 June 2016, "brings together specialists in all aspects of the study of Bantu languages." It is being organized by the University of Helsinki in Finland with several partners and sponsors. The provisional program and abstracts are available on the conference site.

The series of linguistic conferences of which this event is a part considers the branch of the Niger-Congo language family known as Bantu. Bantu languages are spoken in large parts of Southern and Central Africa, as well as in East Africa.

The series, which has involved many prominent international scholars in African languages and linguistics, goes back several years with conferences in various locations in Europe (this incomplete list gleaned from several sources):
  • (First)
  • Bantu Languages: Analysis, Description and Theory, 4-7 October 2007, University of Götenborg, Sweden
  • Bantu 3, 25-27 March 2009, Tervuren, Belgium
  • "B4ntu," 7-9 April 2011, Berlin, Germany (Bantu 4 was originally scheduled for 22-26 March 2010 at Lancaster University, UK, but had to be postponed)
  • Bantu 5, 12-15 June 2013, INALCO, Paris, France

Borderland Linguistics Conference

The Borderland Linguistics Conference will be held on 27-28 June 2016 at the University of Bristol, UK. This is not specifically related to Africa, however, the program includes three presentations on languages in Africa. Also, given the attention in this blog to "cross-border languages" in Africa, it seems especially appropriate to mention this event.

The conference theme is described this way:
The notion of border is highly complex and problematic, whether it be an officially demarcated border between two states, or a less rigorously defined meeting space of somehow differentiated social or ethnic groups. Leading theorists have proposed that a broad-reaching 'theory' of borders may in fact be infelicitous, due to the contextual specificities of each different border area that may constitute an area of study. Nevertheless, borders remain fruitful sites for scholarly inquiry, and this conference invites contributions from linguistics researchers of all levels whose work focuses on borderlands.


The LSSA / SAALA / SAALT Joint Annual Conference for 2016 will be held at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, South Africa on 4-7 July 2016.  The three organizations running the conference are: Linguistics Society of Southern Africa; Southern African Applied Linguistics Association; and South African Association for Language Teaching.

The conference theme - "Language and Linguistics in the Global South: Posing the Challenge" - is framed "within the current context of demands for radical changes to academic content and access at our universities" and encouraged contributors to address "issues of decoloniality and southern theory in linguistic research and teaching." The topics of the conference include: applied linguistics; language practice; language teaching; linguistics; sign language; sociolinguistics; multilingualism; discourse analysis; and linguistic landscapes.

TripleA 3

The Semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian Languages (TripleA 3), 6-8 July 2016, Tübingen, Germany, is the third in a "workshop series aims at providing a forum for semanticists doing fieldwork on understudied languages. Its focus is on languages from Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania."

Semantics is a branch of linguistics concerned with the study of meaning. The TripleA 3 program includes a number of presentations on African languages.


The attentive reader will notice that three of thee four events or series take place in Europe. This is partly a function of chance in the time period chosen, although it is true that Northern institutions have the resources to sponsor such meetings.

Normally it is more useful to post the calls for participation/papers (CFPs), but these are published regularly on relevant sites including Linguist List. This blog is not intended as a reliable source for such news, but will hopefully continue to carry information about interesting meetings and events relating to African languages and the information society. (That said, an upcoming post will feature two CFPs that may be of interest.)

(The section on the Borderland Linguistics Conference was updated on 14 June 2016 with information provided by its organizer, Dr. James Hawkey. Information on the 2016 LSSA / SAALA / SAALT Joint Annual Conference was added on 17 June 2016.)

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