Skype Talk on “The Determiner in Makary Kotoko Narrative Discourse”

Joseph Lovestrand has sent the following invitation to another Skype Talk:

The Chadic Languages & Cultures group, run by Cameroonian linguists, is meeting online Saturday 29 May, 5 PM, Cameroon time (GMT+1). All are welcome to join the discussion (in French and English)!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, 29 May, 2021
5-6 PM (Cameroon time, GMT+1)
*Note the later time compared to previous sessions*
Join via Skype:

Hannah Olney
Trinity Western University (Canada)


The Makary Kotoko [Chadic] determiner is not a grammatically obligatory marker. Although constrained by the identifiability of the referent, speakers are not required to use the determiner in any particular instance. In narrative texts, the distribution of the determiner can be understood through the principles of attention guidance and salience. The primary pattern of distribution is “salience tracking”, where referents receive determiner marking any time they are directly involved in the narrative. Exceptions to this pattern still contribute to the narrator’s overall goal of attention guidance. In addition, two texts displayed a different distribution pattern, “salience flagging”, where the determiner occurred less frequently but still for the purpose of attention guidance. Finally, I propose that the difference between these two patterns may be a result of the process of determiner grammaticalization.

[The presentation will be in English.]


Skype talk on an NLP project on the Zaar and Hausa languages

Joseph Lovestrand has sent us the following message:

The Chadic Languages & Cultures group, run by Cameroonian linguists, is meeting online again this Saturday April 24, 9 AM, Cameroon time (GMT+1). All are welcome to join the discussion (in French and English)!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, April 24, 2021
9-10 am (Cameroon time, GMT+1)
Join via Skype:

Bernard Caron will present his upcoming work on treebanks and automated descriptive grammars for an NLP project (CNRS) on the Zaar and Hausa languages.

Skype talk on “Directionals and associated motion in Chadic languages”

Joseph Lovestrand has sent us the following message:

The Chadic Languages & Cultures group, run by Cameroonian linguists, is meeting online again on March 13th, 9 AM, Cameroon time (GMT+1). All are welcome to join the discussion!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, March 13, 2021
9-10 am (Cameroon time, GMT+1)
Join via Skype:

Directionals and associated motion in Chadic languages
Joseph Lovestrand | SOAS University of London

[This presentation will be in French and English / Cette présentation sera en français et anglais]

In ongoing work (to be presented at WOCAL 10) I am looking at the grammaticalized expression of directional meaning (e.g. ventive extensions) and associated motion (e.g. ‘go and then V’ or ‘V and then come’) in Chadic languages, currently including data from 14 West Chadic, 20 Central Chadic and 4 East Chadic languages. All of the Central Chadic languages have a morphosyntactic means of expressing directional meaning, typically a suffix or post-verbal particle, and 9 of the Central Chadic languages have a set of three or more directionals including meanings such as UP, DOWN, IN, OUT, ON TOP, etc. These more complex directional semantics are not found in the descriptions of West and East Chadic languages, and 4 of the 18 West and East languages do not seem to have any grammaticalized way of expressing directional meaning. As noted by Belkadi (2015), directional markers in Chadic languages can also have a subsequent associated motion meaning (‘V and then come/go’) when combined with certain verbs. Of those languages that have directionals, this is reported for 6/20 Central Chadic languages, 2/11 West Chadic and 1/3 East Chadic languages. More common, but frequently overlooked, is the expression of prior associated motion (‘go and then V’) which is expressed in various kinds of multiverb constructions (e.g. auxiliary, conjunctive, serial verbs). It is found in 3/6 West Chadic, 10/14 Central Chadic, and 4/4 East Chadic languages. (Fewer sources are available for this function.)

A few issues raised include: the possible grammaticalization of prior AM into a translocative meaning, a possible prior AM interpretation of an allative suffix in Mbuko, the overlapping functions of morphology and multiverb constructions in some languages, the lexical-semantic contexts for subsequent AM interpretations, the asymmetrical distributions of ventive and allative meanings, and the need for more descriptive data, especially of East Chadic languages.

Belkadi, Aicha. 2015. Associated motion with deictic directionals: A comparative overview. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 17. 49–76.

Discussion groups on Skype

Joseph Lovestrand has sent us the following message:

I recently learned that a group of Cameroonian linguists are putting together informal discussion groups around Chadic languages. There’s a meeting coming up February 20. Would be great to have more people join in on the discussion if possible!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, Feb 20
9-10 am (Cameroon time, GMT+1)
Join via Skype:

Guillaume Guitang
Université libre de Bruxelles

La réduplication figée en Gizey/ Frozen reduplication in Gizey

This presentation contributes to discussions on reduplication by analysing frozen reduplicatives in Gizey and other languages of the Masa group under analogy from imitative forms with full copying. Residues of ancient partial reduplicative processes will also be considered in this presentation.

Presenting Chadic research online on Zenodo & Academia is an open-access repository that allows researchers to deposit research papers, data sets, research software, reports, and any other research related digital artifacts. For each submission, a digital object identifier (DOI) is created, which makes the stored items easily citeable. Find out more about Zenodo here.

Our colleague Roger Blench has uploaded a paper he presented at the Conference on African Languages and Linguistics a couple of months ago and it is now available for download or watching on Zenodo: The South Bauchi languages of Central Nigeria: a fresh overview based on recent fieldwork

Our colleague Joseph Lovestrand has uploaded a talk on “Manner demonstratives in Barayin (East Chadic)” he presented at the Dallas International Academic Lens (DIAL) conference, which is also available for download or watching on Zenodo.

Roger Blench has also uploaded many of his conference presentations, papers maps, wordlists, reports and even whole books on, e.g.

More by Roger Blench on

Online repositories like Zenodo and Academia will probably become more popular. Please let the rest of us know whenever you publish something related to Chadic on these platforms so we can keep track of what is going on in Chadic Studies.

SOAS Blog Honoring Philip Jaggar on his 75th Birthday

Two celebratory blog posts have been published in honor of renowned scholar of Hausa linguistics Philip Jaggar, on the occasion of his 75th Birthday in 2020. The blog, hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), features a biography of Phil and tributes from colleagues and friends, with accompanying photographs:

Submitted by Roxana Ma Newman (Indiana University) and Graham Furniss (SOAS)

New Paper on South Bauchi Group

Our colleague Roger Blench has uploaded a new paper (“The South Bauchi languages of Central Nigeria: a fresh view based on recent fieldwork”) on that presents some new findings on the South Bauchi group of West Chadic languages:

The South Bauchi languages are a major subgroup of West Chadic B. They are spoken around Bauchi town in Bauchi State, Nigeria. The existence of some is reported in this paper for the first time. There are thought to be some 38 of which 4 are extinct and several, such as Lukshi down to the last few speakers. The paper presents basic background on this group and prospects for upcoming survey work. Some basic grammatical characteristics of South Bauchi are outlined.

You can read and download the paper at

Festschriften and Gedenkschriften

Recently I visited the Department of African Studies in Frankfurt and saw that a new Festschrift for its former Director, Prof. Rainer Vossen, had been printed. This reminded me to post a short article on “Festschriften”  and “Gedenkschriften” here. Continue reading “Festschriften and Gedenkschriften”

New publication: Serial verb constructions in Barayin

Joseph Lovestrand has informed us that his dissertation on serial verb constructions in Barayin is now online:

Again, we would like to remind and encourage other linguists working on Chadic languages to also send such information. Please help us keep up to date with what is going on in Chadic Linguistics by sending us information about your research, new publications, conferences etc. (Contact)

BICCL 10 in Hamburg

The 10th ‘Biennial International Colloquium on the Chadic Languages (BICCL)’ will take place 3-6 October 2019, at Universität Hamburg (AAI), Germany.

More about BICCL 10

The deadline for abstract submission was extended  to 1 May 2019. Notification of acceptance will be given by 31 May 2019.

Details concerning participants, program, accommodation and organizational matters will be communicated in further circulars.

Tous les détails concernant les participants, le programme, l’hébergement et les questions d’organisation seront communiqués dans d’autres circulaires.

La date limite pour la soumission des résumés prolongée est fixé au 1er mai 2019. La notification d’acceptation sera envoyée avant le 31 mai 2019.

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