SIL presentations at ACAL 45

(April 2014) Seven SIL linguists presented their research at the 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 45), which took place 17-19 April at the University of Kansas. The theme for this year’s conference was “Africa’s Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches.”

Although language endangerment is not as acute in Africa as in other world regions, it is still a concern. The continent is home to more than two thousand language communities, some with comparatively large populations and others quite small.

SIL presentations included:

  • Dr. Colleen Ahland: “How case-marking can be incorporated into a verb: The historical development of middle voice in Gumuz”
  • Dr. Michael Ahland: “Interactions between tone and morphosyntax in Northern Mao”*
  • Dr. Michael Cahill: “Labial-velars: Not quite so rare after all”*
  • Becky Paterson: “Verbal categories in Ut-Ma’in, a Kainji language of Nigeria”*
  • Dr. Doris Payne: “Syntax and information structure constructions in Maa”
  • Dr. Tim Stirtz: “Mundari mid-vowel raising through [ATR] harmony and underlying word-final consonants in Caning, a Nilo-Saharan language of Sudan” and "Underlying Word-final Consonants in Caning, a Nilo-Saharan Language of Sudan"
  • Andrew Wolfe with Tajeldin Adam: “Optional ergativity and information structure in Beria”


SIL ACAL presenter   
Dr. Michael Ahland presents research during the Africa’s Endangered Languages workshop; the resource table included many SIL publications.

In addition to the presentation of research and opportunities to interact with colleagues, this year’s event also provided an opportunity for the establishment of a new organization, the Association for Contemporary African Linguistics (also abbreviated as ACAL). Rather than a loose community of practice, this will be a membership organization for linguists focused on African languages. Bylaws were approved and officers elected. SIL’s Dr. Michael Cahill has been chosen to serve as the new organization’s first Secretary.

*Presented as part of the Africa’s Endangered Languages workshop.


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