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Full-Text Articles in African Languages and Societies

Busy Intersections: A Framework For Revitalization, George Tucker Childs Jan 2017

Busy Intersections: A Framework For Revitalization, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper reports on the applicability of a pedagogical model for use in West Africa drawn from adult literacy practices in the United States. It proposes bridging the gap between linguists, teachers, and community organizers, and building on the ethnographic skills of language documenters. One increasingly important goal of language documentation has been “creating and mobilizing documentation in support of pedagogy” (Nathan and Fang 2009:132) or even as a “social movement” (Dobrin and Berson 2011). A documentary perspective is here synthesized with an adult literacy one, fitted to the context of West Africa, to offer some guidelines for revitalization ...


The Knowledge Of Ideophones In Multilingual Contexts: A West African Pilot Study, George Tucker Childs Dec 2016

The Knowledge Of Ideophones In Multilingual Contexts: A West African Pilot Study, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This presentation examines the ubiquity of multilingualism and its somewhat uncertain characterization; the claim for linguistic repertoires vs. languages; how to evaluate and document a linguistic repertoire, economically and expeditiously; ideophones as functionally areal but formally local, thus a control for borrowings; and, is there any sharing in highly multilingual areas? Are ideophones less local than has been empirically shown?


The Knowledge Of Ideophones And Multilingualism: A West African Pilot Study, George Tucker Childs Dec 2016

The Knowledge Of Ideophones And Multilingualism: A West African Pilot Study, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Expressive language such as ideophones and mimetics have provided an important index of social and cultural features. On the continent of Africa, where the word category is generally known as ideophones, such words appear in every major phylum and in most families. They even appear in the continent’s pidgins and creoles, thus representing a language function of some considerable areality. The one place they do not appear, however, is in the colonizing languages when they have not been appropriated by local communities. When the European languages become every day varieties, however, ideophones are regularly used just as they would ...


The Definite Article In Mel, George Tucker Childs Sep 2016

The Definite Article In Mel, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

As a function word, the definite article is subject to some attrition in the course of language change, usually originating in a a form with fuller phonetic substance such as a demonstrative, e.g., Greenberg 1978. This generalization holds true for the Mel languages, spoken in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. These languages were formerly part of the southern branch of Atlantic but are now thought to constitute an independent, e.g., Segerer Forthcoming. The reconstructed form of the Mel definite article is likely *lɛ (tone uncertain). In some dialects of Bom-Kim and the Dema dialect of ...


The Language Ecology Of Sierra Leone, George Tucker Childs Oct 2015

The Language Ecology Of Sierra Leone, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Many of Sierra Leone’s indigenous languages are robust and enjoy some support on the national level. Mende and Temne, for example, receive government support in terms of materials having been created for developing literacy in those languages. Other Sierra Leone languages receive support in nearby countries, e.g., Mandingo (Malinké) and Kisi in Guinea. Three languages in Sierra Leone, however, receive no such support and will likely disappear in a generation, namely, the three South Atlantic languages Mani (Bullom So), Kim (Krim) and Bom (Bum). A fourth language belonging to the same group, Sherbro, the subject of an upcoming ...


Busy Intersections: A Framework For Revitalization, George Tucker Childs Feb 2015

Busy Intersections: A Framework For Revitalization, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Slides from a presentation given to the 4th International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC4), University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. 26 Feb – 1 Mar., 2015.


Synthesis Before The Proto-Niger-Congo Inflectional Verb: Evidence From The Peripheral South Atlantic Languages, George Tucker Childs Sep 2014

Synthesis Before The Proto-Niger-Congo Inflectional Verb: Evidence From The Peripheral South Atlantic Languages, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper contributes to the understanding of Proto-Niger-Congo (PNC) verb structure. It supports the contention in Nurse 2007 that PNC verbs were likely more analytical than synthetic in nature. It does so by illustrating several paths of grammaticalization (and cliticization), in a set of several far-west Atlantic languages, geographically distant from the Niger-Congo core.


Beyond The Ancestral Code: Towards A Model For Sociolinguistic Language Documentation, George Tucker Childs, Jeff Good, Alice Mitchell Jun 2014

Beyond The Ancestral Code: Towards A Model For Sociolinguistic Language Documentation, George Tucker Childs, Jeff Good, Alice Mitchell

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Most language documentation efforts focus on capturing lexico-grammatical information on individual languages. Comparatively little effort has been devoted to considering a language’s sociolinguistic contexts. In parts of the world characterized by high degrees of multilingualism, questions surrounding the factors involved in language choice and the relationship between ‘communities’ and ‘languages’ are clearly of interest to documentary linguistics, and this paper considers these issues by reporting on the results of a workshop held on sociolinguistic documentation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over sixty participants from Africa and elsewhere discussed theoretical and methodological issues relating to the documentation of language in its social ...


Review Of Repertoires And Choices In African Languages By Friederike Lûpke And Anne Storch, George Tucker Childs Jan 2013

Review Of Repertoires And Choices In African Languages By Friederike Lûpke And Anne Storch, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Repertoires and Choices in African Languages (RCAL) will interest not only Africanists but also specialists in other geographical areas and those generally concerned with language endangerment and language documentation. In short, this is a timely book for readers of this journal. The authors, Friederike Lüpke and Anne Storch, are two of the finest scholars working on African languages today and two of the most reflective thinkers in this field. The breadth and depth of their research records (they call themselves, somewhat modestly, ‘fieldworkers’) are both exemplary, and together constitute a whole that any two other scholars would find difficult to ...


The Tense-Op Syntagm: Unity To Nc Word Order, Evidence From Bulom, South Atlantic, George Tucker Childs Sep 2012

The Tense-Op Syntagm: Unity To Nc Word Order, Evidence From Bulom, South Atlantic, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Provides the outline of a paper that examines Proto-Niger-Congo features; the classification of Atlantic languages; The VP in Bulom and Atlantic, TNS-OP; A contact explanation: S-AUX-O-V-X from Mande; Other explanations, internal to Bullom, internal to Atlantic, and elsewhere; and comparison to (speculations as to) reconstructed Niger-Congo.


Let's Speak Bom! The First Bom Primer: A Graphic Introduction To The Bom Language Of Sierra Leone, Hannah Sarvasy, George Tucker Childs Jan 2009

Let's Speak Bom! The First Bom Primer: A Graphic Introduction To The Bom Language Of Sierra Leone, Hannah Sarvasy, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

A graphic introduction to the Bom language of Sierra Leone, based on the stories of Bom community elders. Compiled and illustrated by Hannah Sarvasy, with editorial assistance from Tucker Childs.


Language Death Within The Atlantic Group Of West Africa, George Tucker Childs Apr 2008

Language Death Within The Atlantic Group Of West Africa, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This article presents an overview of the less widely spoken languages of the Atlantic Group (Niger-Congo), as representing the most seriously threatened language group in West Africa. Study of this group indicates that language endangerment is real and widespread. The basis for this claim comes from the literature on these languages, from personal research on the Atlantic languages dating back to 1984, and from recent and ongoing fieldwork on several highly endangered languages of Sierra Leone and Guinea.


Language Endangerment In West Africa: Its Victims And Causes, George Tucker Childs Jan 2008

Language Endangerment In West Africa: Its Victims And Causes, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper catalogues the forces at work threatening the Atlantic languages of Guinea and Sierra Leone. Compared to Mande, the other major language group in the area, and to figures for Africa in general (Sommer 1992), the Atlantic Group is beset by ominous forces. These include what could be considered ecological features (e.g., Mufwene 2001): the Mande Expansion (Niane 1989), colonialism, the spread of Islam, and globalization. There are other forces to be sure, such as the influence of Christian missions (Welmers 1971; cf. Mühlhäusler 1990), urbanization (a sub-category, perhaps, of globalization), and climatic changes (Brooks 1993, Fairhead and ...


The S-Aux-O-V-Other Syntagm In Atlantic, George Tucker Childs Apr 2005

The S-Aux-O-V-Other Syntagm In Atlantic, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

As the largest language phylum in the world and the most geographically widespread (Williamson & Blench 2000), Niger-Congo understandably exhibits some variation at all grammatical levels. Basic word order stands as no exception to this generalization, and there have been partisans for both an SOY and an SVO reconstructed word order. Gensler 1994 attempts to reconcile the two by claiming that neither proposal is correct; he suggests that both SOY and SVO are derived from Proto-Niger-Congo *S-AUX-O-V-Other. Because of the pattern's "quirkiness" (being found virtually nowhere else in the world) and because it is so widely attested in geographically widely separated Niger-Congo languages, the pattern should be reconstructed for all of Niger-Congo. One crucial piece of evidence for this claim comes from the Southern Atlantic language Kisi. This paper explores Kisi' s facts in further detail to show how central the structure is to the language. It then expands the ...


The Atlantic And Mande Groups Of Niger-Congo: A Study In Contrasts, A Study In Interaction, George Tucker Childs Jan 2004

The Atlantic And Mande Groups Of Niger-Congo: A Study In Contrasts, A Study In Interaction, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper presents the effects of long-lasting and pervasive contact between two major language groups of Niger-Congo, both of which diverged relatively early from the parent stock. The influence has been asymmetrical: Mande has more deeply influenced Atlantic than vice versa. The details come from two profoundly influenced languages, Kisi, now completely surrounded by Mande, and Mmani, a closely related language, from which all speakers have switched to the Mande language Soussou.

Le contact entre les locuteurs des langues atlantiques et les locuteurs des langues mande est de longue durée et profond. Les deux ensembles sont très différents typologiquement. À ...


Borrowings Into Kisi As Evidence Of Mande Expansionism And Influence, George Tucker Childs Jan 2002

Borrowings Into Kisi As Evidence Of Mande Expansionism And Influence, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

Strong claims have been made as to the influence of Mande languages on the languages of the Atlantic Group. This paper analyzes Mande borrowings in one Atlantic language in order to understand the nature of that influence. The Atlantic language of focus is Kisi, a member of the Southern Branch, spoken primarily in Guinea. The Kisi people have separated from their closest relatives on the Atlantic Coast in historic times, probably due to the second Mande expansionist wave of the sixteenth century at the collapse of the Mali Empire. Today the Kisi are completely surrounded and interpenetrated by speakers of ...


Predicate Clefting In Kisi, George Tucker Childs Jan 1997

Predicate Clefting In Kisi, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper examines the focus construction of Kisi, an Atlantic language (Niger-Congo) spoken by some half a million people primarily in Guinea but also in nearby Sierra Leone and Liberia. The data come from work done in 1983-84 on the southern dialect spoken in the Foya area of Upper Lofa County, Liberia. Of particular interest is the presence of what has been known in the literature as "predicate clefting'', e.g., DeGraff 1996. Its interactions and complementarity with negation, an inherently focusing construction (Marchese 1983), evince some complexity. Despite some superficial similarity, however, substantial syntactic differences exist. More similarities exist ...


Where Have All The Ideophones Gone? The Death Of A Word Category In Zulu, George Tucker Childs Jan 1996

Where Have All The Ideophones Gone? The Death Of A Word Category In Zulu, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

The first step in the discussion is to demonstrate that ideophones constitute a word class, a relatively uncontroversial claim for Southern Bantu. The second is to show that native speakers of Zulu do not share equal knowledge of ideophones and how this knowledge correlates with social factors. Measured knowledge of ideophones is evaluated against the social factors of age, sex, education, residence patterns, and rusticity, a parameter to be elaborated below. The conclusion is that just as for pidgins and creoles (Childs 1994) the knowledge and use of ideophones serves as a reliable barometer for language typing and language change ...


Language Typology And Reconstruction: The Prenasalized Stops Of Kisi, George Tucker Childs Jan 1995

Language Typology And Reconstruction: The Prenasalized Stops Of Kisi, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

The findings of language typologists can contribute to understanding synchronic variation where no diachronic facts are available. By establishing what happens universally, one can extrapolate as to the past and perhaps as to the future of a language on the basis of synchronic evidence. One approach within such a framework concentrates on a typologically unusual or marked feature on the assumption that its derivation may be established from less highly marked features. This paper discusses the typologically unusual prenasalized stops of Kisi, a Mel language belonging to the Southern Branch of (West) Atlantic. The approach adopted here is based on ...


Lexicography In West Africa: Preparing A Bilingual Kisi-English Dictionary, George Tucker Childs Jan 1993

Lexicography In West Africa: Preparing A Bilingual Kisi-English Dictionary, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper presents some of the issues involved in preparing a bilingual dictionary for Kisi, an underdocumented language spoken in West Africa. Because the language possesses little in the way of literacy materials, fundamental issues as to orthography, word division, etc., had to be considered. In addition, no grammar of the language (or its closest congeners) was available and thus basic grammatical analysis had to be performed simultaneously. I briefly consider some of these problems, discussing the use of the lexical data base programs known as LEXWARE. I then focus on the specific problems raised by the expressive word class ...


Nasality In Kisi, George Tucker Childs Jan 1991

Nasality In Kisi, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper presents the various manifestations of nasality in Kisi, a Mel language belonging to the Southern Branch of (West) Atlantic. In this language, as in many West African languages, nasality plays a prominent role in the language's sound system and grammar. Nasality in Kisi is realized phonetically on both consonants and vowels and phonologically on consonants. There are even cases of 'spontaneous nasalization', situations in which there is no nearby nasal segment to contribute the nasal feature. Nasality may also function in the morphology and is used expressively for emphasis. The findings reported here will be of use ...


Where Do Ideophones Come From?, George Tucker Childs Oct 1989

Where Do Ideophones Come From?, George Tucker Childs

Applied Linguistics Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper begins with an analysis of ideophones in Kisi (West Atlantic, Guinea). This examination leads to consideration of the diachrony of ideophones, but because of the lack of data with any real time depth, we are limited to finding clues in the synchronic data. This study looks first at verbs, the class of words which Kisi ideophones resemble most closely. Such is also the case in other African languages, where ideophones can often be analyzed as verbs, as has been done for several Southern Bantu languages. I then demonstrate how Kisi ideophones can be derived from verbs, illustrating several ...