[lg policy] call: Sociolinguistic Language Documentation in Africa

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 22 14:47:57 UTC 2012

Sociolinguistic Language Documentation in Africa

Date: 17-Aug-2012 - 19-Aug-2012
Location: Buea, Cameroon
Contact: Tucker Childs and Jeff Good
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://buffalo.edu/~jcgood/AfricanSociolinguistics.html

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Language
Documentation; Sociolinguistics

Meeting Description:

Workshop on Sociolinguistic Language Documentation in Sub-Saharan
Africa to be held in conjunction with the 7th World Congress of
African Linguistics

Language documentation is prototypically characterized as the
collection of records of a language which can form the basis of
traditional descriptive linguistic products such as lexicons,
grammars, and texts. This follows from an emphasis by linguists and
speaker communities on documentation of specific varieties and genres
taken to be especially representative of a given community's heritage.
By contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to
understanding what kinds of documentary products are required to
adequately capture the sociolinguistic setting of a language. This
represents a particularly complex issue in the highly multilingual
contexts that typically characterize Sub-Saharan Africa.

The guiding concern of this workshop is understanding how we can
adequately document the sociolinguistic contexts of Sub-Saharan
African languages. It will address questions such as the following:
Are particular discourse genres especially revealing of
sociolinguistic dynamics? How can multilingual competence be
rigorously assessed? Can we establish general methods to discover
salient markers of sociolinguistic significance? What additional kinds
of metadata are needed to facilitate the testing of sociolinguistic
hypotheses on documentary data?

The workshop is designed to produce new research collaborations among
scholars of African languages. Significant time will be devoted to
working groups where participants will divide into sub-groups to
discuss specific issues related to the sociolinguistic documentation
of Sub-Saharan African languages and draft reports proposing future
documentary agendas. We especially encourage the participation of
junior scholars, including advanced students.

This workshop is being held in conjunction with the Seventh World
Congress of African Linguistics. It is being organized by Tucker
Childs (childstpdx.edu) and Jeff Good (jcgoodbuffalo.edu). The
organizers anticipate being able to make significant contributions to
the travel costs for around five U.S. participants and ten African
participants with financial support from the U.S. National Science
Foundation. Scholars from other countries are also strongly encouraged
to participate, as are scholars with access to other travel funds.

General questions about the workshop should be directed to the
workshop email address: africansociolinguisticsgmail.com.

Those interested in participating in the workshop should prepare a
one-page statement of interest including the following information:

- Name of participant, academic affiliation, and research
qualifications and background
- Reason for interest in the proposed workshop, including some
indication of the specific issues of sociolinguistic language
documentation that it is hoped the workshop will address
- Whether they are requesting funding for travel to the workshop; if
so, a separate page should be included with their interest statement
giving an estimate of travel expenses and an indication of what other
sources of funding (if any) may be available to support their
- Junior applicants (especially students) should also provide the name
and contact details (email and telephone number) of at least two
referees to vouch for their application.

Applicants should bear in mind that the workshop is specifically
intended to foster new research collaborations. Therefore, statements
of interest should not consist merely of project reports but rather
give clear reasons for participation in workshop discussions. They
should address, for example, questions like: What are the key research
issues in African sociolinguistics today? What kinds of collaborative
research projects can address those issues? Or, how can new
collaborative efforts be encouraged?

One page statements of interest (accompanied by an additional page
containing budgetary information and a reference, if relevant) must be
submitted by 20 April 2012. They should be submitted via LINGUIST
List's Easy Abs service at the following address:


More information can be found on the workshop website:



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