New Paper on South Bauchi languages

Roger Blench has uploaded a new paper titled “The South Bauchi languages: Nigeria’s largest group of (almost) unknown languages” on

The South Bauchi languages are West Chadic languages spoken around Bauchi town. Although there are some forty languages, few have been studied by linguists and even fewer have any language development. The best-known languages are Zaar, Boghom, Geri and Zul. The talk reviews what is known and presents the results of fresh fieldwork undertaken in 2019. We found that some languages are down to the last few speakers and urgent research is required to document these languages before they disappear. South Bauchi languages are known for their complex phonologies, and as a consequence, there are many problems in developing effective writing systems. The presentation offers some suggestions for the priority research agenda.

Read the paper at


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)

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

On the Etymology of Hausa “boko”

Professor Paul Newman has recently published a paper entitled “The Etymology of Hausa boko” in which he refutes the often-asserted claim that boko comes from English ‘book’. The paper is available online at the Mega-Chad/Méga-Tchad website under the category ‘Miscellaneous Publications’:

Russell Schuh’s Papers and other writings available for download

Russell G. Schuh, one of the most prominent scholars of Chadic Linguistics, has made a large number of his papers and other writings available for download. You can find links to these materials on his website:

I have added these links to my ever-growing collection of Chadic bookmarks. Let me remind you again: We are always happy to get news about new publications, ongoing research and also about online activities of Chadic linguists. These will be publicised here on Chadic Newsletter  Online, the same way they used to be when Chadic Newsletter started as a mimeographed leaflet 40 years ago, only much faster. Also, you are always welcome to add comments to the posts.

Interaction of Morphology and Syntax — Case studies in Afroasiatic

A new publication on the “Interaction of Morphology and Syntax” in Afroasiatic languages will soon appear at Benjamins. It is edited by Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Erin Shay (University of Colorado at Boulder) and contains papers mostly on Cushitic and Chadic languages. Here is a description found at the website of Benjamins:

The present volume deals with hitherto unexplored issues on the interaction of morphology and syntax. These selected and invited papers mainly concern Cushitic and Chadic languages, the least-described members of the Afroasiatic family. Three papers in the volume explore one or more typological characteristics across an entire language family or branch, while others focus on one or two languages within a family and the implications of their structures for the family, the phylum, or linguistic typology as a whole. The diversity of topics addressed within the present volume reflects the great diversity of language structures and functions within the Afroasiatic phylum.

Table of contents

Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Erin Shay

Case marking, syntactic domains and information structure in Kabyle (Berber)
Amina Mettouchi

The internal and comparative reconstruction of verb extensions in early Chadic and Afroasiatic
Christopher Ehret

One way of becoming a dative subject
Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Coding the unexpected: Subject pronouns in East Dangla
Erin Shay

Ergative-active features of the Ethiopian Semitic type
Grover Hudson

Number as an exponent of gender in Cushitic
Maarten Mous

Relativization in Kambaata (Cushitic)
Yvonne Treis

Between coordination and subordination in Gawwada
Mauro Tosco

Author index

Language index

Subject index

Roger Blench’s new book is out

Archaeology, Language, and the African Past is an overview of theories and methods, a fusion of African linguistics and archaeology. Roger Blench provides a comprehensive look at the history of all African language families, incorporating the latest linguistic classifications, current evidence from archaeology, genetic research, and recorded history. This original and definitive volume examines the economic culture of the continent—from major crops and plant life to animals and livestock—from a multi-dimensional perspective. It provides students of linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology with a critical discussion on the history of African languages and the cultures they articulate. (Description taken from Book flyer by: Altamira Press)

A look at Roger’s website is also worth the while. Papers that can be found and downloaded from there include:

Check it out and find more good stuff there!

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. Continue reading “4th BICCL: Conference report”

Afrikanistentag 2007: Hausa papers

The “Afrikanistentag 2007” has started yesterday at the Department of African Studies in Vienna. A list of papers can be found here. There are a two papers on topics related to Hausa:

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Chadic links collection: feel free to contribute

I have started collecting my own list, using the social bookmarking service

In one of the first posts, I mentioned Web resources for African Languages, a private website run by Jouni F. Maho. There, one can find links to online materials on many Chadic languages, including articles, dictionaries, sound files and word lists. It is organised by subgroups and languages and it keeps growing. If you look for any Chadic online materials, it is the first place to check.

I have started collecting my own list, using the social bookmarking service My own Chadic links can be found at

Maybe you have already noticed the new section titled “Chadic Links“. Feel free to contribute to this list. In order to do this, all you have to do is open an account with (which is free of charge) and save your own Chadic links there. It would be great if we could build up a larger collection together.

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