4th BICCL: Conference report

The Fourth Biennial International Colloquium on the Chadic Languages BICCL has just taken place from 30th – 31st October 2007, at the University of Bayreuth. Here is a report on this event from a participant’s (my own) perspective.Most of the participants arrived already on Monday 29th. We had a first informal meeting in “Schinner Braustuben” and it was very nice to meet former colleagues and get to know some new ones.

Most of us spent the night in the pension “Zum Edlen Hirschen” or in the “Gästehaus Elfert”, two small B&B Guest Houses in walking distance from the conference venue, which was at the Africa Centre of the University of Bayreuth (“Iwalewa House“).

The conference started on Tuesday morning, with about 30 participants. In the small conference room we were surrounded by very impressive photographs of Angolan youngsters.

After Dymitr Ibriszimow‘s opening remarks the morning session, which was chaired by Henry Tourneux, started with a paper by Ekkehard Wolff, who proposed to us “Another look at ‘internal a’ plurals in Chadic”.

This was followed by Vaclav Blazek‘s paper on “All Chadic Lakes”, in which he compared a number of words associated with the meaning “lake”, “river” etc. found in Chadic languages.

The third paper was by Theda Schumann, who spoke about “Agents and Agent Nouns in Chadic”.

After a short coffee break, Victor Porkhomovsky gave a report on the “AAKTS database and KinShIP computer programme for processing Afroasiatic kinship terms and systems”.

Next was my own paper on “Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis etc. – what the Web 2.0 has to offer for (Chadic) Linguists”.

After our lunch break in Café Engin’s Ponte near Bayreuth’s “Canale Grande”, we started the afternoon session, chaired by Victor Porkhomovsky.

The first paper was presented by Heike Andreas, who gave us a first impression of her research on Nyam, an isolated language of the Bole-Tangale group.

It was followed by Roger Blench‘s presentation on Kirya-Konzəl (a.k.a. as Fali). This presentation can be downloaded from Roger’s website.

After the coffee break, we listened to three more papers. First, Jim Roberts talked about “Palatalization and Labialization in Eastern Chadic verbs.” Next was Gian Claudio Batic‘s paper on “Imaginative Dimension and Experiential Constructions in Hausa and Bole”. The final paper for the day was presented by Olga Stolbova, who talked about “Plural in Kirfi and in Chadic”.

In the evening, we met at another Brauhaus (I can’t remember the name) and I convinced my three SIL colleagues Jim, Sean and Joy to try the “Leberkäse”, which they did and liked.

The second day’s morning session was chaired by Philip Jaggar. It started with a paper by Georg Ziegelmeyer “On the Linguistic Influence of Hausa and Kanuri on Bade and Ngizim.”

Next, Doris Löhr presented some results from the Loanword Typology Project of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. Ari Awagana, Doris Löhr and Ekkehard Wolff have been asked to contribute data on loanwords in Hausa and Kanuri.

The third paper was by Sergio Baldi, who talked about “The yi + noun verbs and their positioning in Hausa”

After the coffee break, two papers were presented by our African colleagues:

Baba Mai Bello talked about the “Hausa Language and the Perception of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria”, while Balarabe Zulyadaini presented “An evaluation of L1 and L2 Hausa cognitive structures”.

After the lunch break (we ate “soul food” in a nearby restaurant), in the final session chaired by Ekkehard Wolff, we heard three papers on different aspects of Kotoko lects. First, Sean Allison talked about the “Derivation of the PAM system of Makary Kotoko”. Next was Joy Ruff‘s paper on “Tone in Lagwan Verbs”. The final paper of the day and the conference was presented by Henry Tourneux, who talked about “La proposition relative dans les langues dites ‘kotoko'”.

After Dymitr Ibriszimow’s closing remarks, there were a few things to discuss: The next BICCL will be in Leipzig around June/July 2009. The papers for the proceedings of BICCL 4 should not exceed 12 pages. Longer articles could be published in the series “University of Leipzig Papers on Africa” (ULPA). Formatting directions will be sent to the participants by email.

During the afternoon, Joe McIntyre had arrived from Hamburg with his guitar. In the evening, we had a social gathering in a pizza restaurant and sang “oldies” in a cheerful mood.

A big “Thank you” has to go to the organizers of this beautiful conference. I already look forward to the one in Leipzig.

If you want to see the pictures I took during the conference, just visit www.flickr.com/photos/hausaonline (sorry for the red eyes on some of them, the light in the conference room was poor).

If you also have pictures to share, let us know where they are stored (don’t forget, Web 2.0 is about sharing). I look forward to your comments,

Uwe Seibert


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