Post-Doctoral position in anthropological linguistics/language documentation

Jeff Good jcgood at BUFFALO.EDU
Tue Jun 9 22:27:51 UTC 2009

[Apologies for cross posting]

Post-Doctoral position in anthropological linguistics/language  

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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