Post-Doctoral position in anthropological linguistics/language documentation

Ellen Contini-Morava elc9j at
Wed Jun 10 14:42:32 UTC 2009

 From a colleague who is not on this list:

 > From: Jeff Good <jcgood at>

Post-Doctoral position in anthropological linguistics/language documentation

Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral research position 
in the Department of Linguistics at the University at Buffalo, The State 
University of New York, in conjunction with the NSF-funded project 
"Towards an Areal grammar of Lower Fungom", directed by Jeff Good. The 
project involves gathering both (i) basic documentary and descriptive 
materials on the languages of the Lower Fungom region of Northwest 
Cameroon and (ii) collecting ethnographic information relevant to 
understanding the sociolinguistics of the region. The focus of the work 
for the person to be hired for this position will be on the ethnographic 
and sociolinguistic aspects of the project.

Applicants should have previous fieldwork experience and be willing to 
engage in fieldwork under difficult conditions in Subsaharan Africa. 
Ability to speak French will be helpful but is not required as the 
primary contact languages will be English and Cameroonian Pidgin (which 
can be learned in the field). Candidates should have demonstrated 
expertise in anthropological linguistics or the sociolinguistics of 
non-Western languages. Applicants with previous fieldwork experience in 
Subsaharan Africa and some background in comparative and historical 
linguistics will be preferred.

This is a research position, and there is no teaching obligation. 
Starting salary is US $40,000, with a subsequent annual increase. 
Planned start date for the work is Fall 2009, but this is negotiable.

  Project description

  The Lower Fungom region of Cameroon is one of the most linguistically 
fragmented areas of one of the most linguistically diverse countries on 
the planet. In an area around half the size of Chicago, one finds at 
least seven indigenous languages, five of which are not spoken 
elsewhere. The region's languages are not well studied, and their 
names--Abar [mij], Fang [fak], Koshin [kid], Kung [kfl], Mbu' [muc], 
Mundabli [boe], and Naki [mff]--are virtually unknown, even to other 
linguists working in Cameroon. These languages are clearly related to 
the Bantu languages that dominate Subsaharan Africa, but the details of 
their genetic affiliations otherwise remain largely obscure.

  Based on the results of fieldwork conducted since 2004, it has become 
clear that an important feature of the Lower Fungom region is the nature 
of the communicative network holding among its thirteen villages that 
has allowed such extensive linguistic diversity to flourish. Thus, in 
addition to the traditional issues encountered when doing grammatical 
description and comparative work on any group of understudied languages, 
a second set of questions is raised when conducting fieldwork in Lower 
Fungom regarding the sociolinguistic and historical forces that have 
created such extreme diversity within such a small area. This project 
will, therefore, continue the research already begun on the grammar and 
lexicon of the languages of Lower Fungom and extend it by adding a 
sociolinguistic and anthropological component to the work. The project 
will result in the creation of a sociolinguistic survey of the region as 
well as detailed documentation and description of three of its speech 
varieties that are only minimally described.


  Applicants are encouraged to discuss their application with the 
project director prior to submission. Applications will be accepted 
online only beginning June 9 at the University at Buffalo jobs site:

  For the posting for this particular job, go to:

  Information about what to include with an application can be found on 
the UB Jobs website. Review of applications will begin on 1 July, and 
applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

  Questions can be addressed to:
  Jeff Good, University at Buffalo, Department of Linguistics
  Email: jcgood at
  Phone: +1-716-645-0126

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