SIL linguists present research at CALL 2013

The African continent is home to roughly thirty percent of the world’s living languages.

The annual Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics provides an opportunity for Africanists from around the world to share research and network with colleagues. A number of SIL linguists were among those who shared research at this year's event.

(September 2013) The 43rd Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics (CALL 2013) was recently convened by the Department of African Languages and Cultures at Leiden University (Netherlands). Leiden is respected as a leading institution in both theoretical linguistics and descriptive study of African languages. CALL brings together Africanists from around the world. A wide variety of topics related to African languages were covered at the 26-28 August meetings. This year’s event included a special session on African sign languages. A one-day workshop on Nuba Mountain languages followed the main conference.

Presentations by SIL participants at CALL 2013 included:

  • Carlos Benitez-Torres: “Some noun features of Tagdal, a Northern Songhay language: A study in language contact and development”
  • Rich Boutwell: “In reference to defective participants: Anaphoric demonstratives of the Beboid language Nchane
  • Tim Gaved: “Relative clauses in Mankanya
  • Jacob Karels: “Distinguishing restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses in Nyiha
  • Ken Olson: “A sketch of Lutos phonology”
  • Mary Pearce: “Templates and constraints in Saba verbal forms”


Africa has a high level of linguistic diversity. In fact, the continent is home to roughly thirty percent of the world’s living languages. Far from a merely academic exercise, linguistic research contributes to such practical language development efforts as mother-tongue literacy and preserves language data for future generations. SIL offers a number of training opportunities in cooperation with academic institutions across the continent.

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