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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 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.


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 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...