Book reviews in JALL 42

Joseph Lovestrand has sent the following message:

The latest JALL has two reviews of works on Chadic languages:

  • Allison, Sean. 2020. A grammar of Makary Kotoko. (Grammars and Sketches of the World’s Languages, Africa 12). Leiden/Boston: Brill. XVIII+502 pages. ISBN: 978-90-04-42251-3. EUR 149. (Reviewed by: Abdoulaye, Mahamane L.). In: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 42(2). 279–285.
  • Newman, Paul & Roxana Ma Newman. 2020. Hausa Dictionary: Hausa-English/English-Hausa, Ƙamusun Hausa: Hausa-Ingilishi/Ingilishi-Hausa. Kano: Bayero University Press, Kano, Nigeria. (Reviewed by: Leben, William R.). In: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 42(2). 287–290.

Early invitation for CALL workshop presentations

Joseph Lovestrand has sent the following message:

An online workshop on the theme “Words in Chadic languages: Phonology and morphosyntax” is being organized for August 29, 2022 in conjunction with the Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics 2022.

Anyone who would like to contribute a presentation can express interest by emailing Joseph Lovestrand:

Planned participants include:

Théodore Bebey (University of Maroua)
Adam Mahmat (University of Maroua)
Hamidou Bappa (University of Maroua)
Ousmanou (University of Yaounde 1)
Mélanie Viljoen (SIL)
Joseph Lovestrand (SOAS University of London)
Ndokobai Dadak (SIL)
H. Ekkehard Wolff (Leipzig University)
Shannon Yee (SIL)
Sakine Ramat (FAPLN)

Words in Chadic languages: phonology and morphosyntax

Chadic languages have long been of interest to phonologists, in particular in regard to word prosodies: cases of vowel and consonant harmony in which phonological features are spread across an entire word (Lionnet & Hyman 2018: 633–646; Wolff 2021: 55–61). The most extreme cases of word prosodies are found in Central Chadic languages, while less extreme examples of phonological feature sharing are common throughout the language family (Pearce & Lovestrand forthcoming). Chadic languages also tend to have complex morphology, in particular in the verbal system where pronominal markers and other verbal morphemes (often called “extensions”) may have ambiguous status in regard to whether they are part of the verb (i.e., suffixes) or not (i.e., particles) (Jungraithmayr & Tourneux 1987). Since Chadic languages have both complex morphology and phonological processes that extend across a domain associated with wordhood, they are likely to exhibit patterns of conflicting criteria for wordhood of the type that has raised questions about the theoretical validity of wordhood and the morphology-syntax divide more generally (Tallman 2020). Of particular interest are cases where the domain of prosody or harmony does not match morphosyntactic criteria for wordhood, however, presentations on aspects of the phonology or morphology of Chadic languages will also be included in the workshop.

  • Jungraithmayr, Herrmann & Henry Tourneux (eds.). 1987. Etudes tchadiques, Classes et extensions verbales. Paris: Geuthner.
  • Lionnet, Florian & Larry M Hyman. 2018. Current issues in African phonology. In Tom Güldemann (ed.), The languages and linguistics of Africa, 602–708. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Pearce, Mary & Joseph Lovestrand. forthcoming. Vowel harmony in Chadic languages. In Harry van der Hulst & Nancy Ritter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Vowel Harmony. Oxford University Press.
  • Tallman, Adam J. R. 2020. Beyond grammatical and phonological words. Language and Linguistics Compass 14(2).
  • Wolff, H. Ekkehard. 2021. Historical phonology of Central Chadic: Prosodies and lexical reconstruction. Cambridge Univ Press.

New publication: A History of the Hausa Language

Paul Newman is pleased to announce the publication of his book A History of the Hausa Language: Reconstruction and Pathways to the Present, Cambridge University Press (2022).

The following description can be found at the CUP website:

With more than sixty million speakers across Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Ghana Hausa is one of the most widely spoken African languages. It is known for its rich phonology and complex morphological and verbal systems. Written by the world’s leading expert on Hausa, this ground-breaking book is a synthesis of his life’s work, and provides a lucid and comprehensive history of the language. It describes Hausa as it existed in former times and sets out subsequent changes in phonology, including tonology, morphology, grammar, and lexicon. It also contains a large loanword inventory, which highlights the history of Hausa’s interaction with other languages and peoples. It offers new insights not only on Hausa in the past, but also on the Hausa language as spoken today. This book is an invaluable resource for specialists in Hausa, Chadic, Afroasiatic, and other African languages as well as for general historical linguists and typologists.

Cambridge University Press

For information on purchasing or making a recommendation to your library, see

Now online: Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics, 5th edition (2022)

The 5th edition of Paul Newman‘s Comprehensive Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics has been posted and is now available online:

Newman, Paul. 2022. Comprehensive Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics, 5th edition. Bloomington: IUScholarWorks. 



It includes approximately 3,500 linguistic works written on Chadic languages, of which about 2,000 are on Hausa, by far the largest and most widely spoken member of the family. The entries date from 1790 to the present. The bibliography contains published books and articles as well as unpublished Ph.D. dissertations and master’s theses.

Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics, 5th edition (2022)

Paul Newman has sent the following announcement:

I am planning on doing one final (5th) edition of the online, open access Chadic  biblio. (The 4th, which appeared in 2018, is available at

      If any of you have Hausa or Chadic books, articles, book reviews, etc. that you would like to see included in the biblio, I would be grateful if you could send me the info in the next two or three weeks at pnxxpn(at) Please send the info either as text in the body of the email itself or as a WORD attachment.

In addition to things that you yourself have written, if you are aware of other bibliographic information that you feel would be useful, please let me know. Finally, if it is not clear from the title of the publication what Chadic languages are treated, please indicate this in a note so that I can include the relevant info in the Keyword section.

New paper on Gizey (Masa)

A new paper on Gizey (Masa) has been uploaded at Springer Link:
Guitang, G. (2021). ‘Frozen reduplication in Gizey: insights into analogical reduplication, phonological and morphological doubling in Masa‘

The paper can be viewed here:

Afrika und Übersee now published online and open access

Afrika und Übersee, founded in 1910 by Carl Meinhof under the name Zeitschrift für Kolonialsprachen, is the oldest academic journal for African linguistics worldwide.

Since 2021, Afrika und Übersee is published online as an Open Access journal by the Abteilung für Afrikanistik und Äthiopistik in the Asien-Afrika-Institut at Universität Hamburg.

The current issue, Vol. 93 (2020), includes some articles and papers touching Chadic languages:

Download Issue 93 (2020) (PDF)

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.

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