Schedule of Topics

TENTATIVE schedule of topics

Week 1: January 28

Why study African Languages

Understand the significance African languages have in terms of linguistics, begin to develop an understanding of Linguistic Human Rights and the role language plays in politics and identity


Pick a country by the end of class

Pick a language – DUE FEB 4th

Week 2: February 4

WordPress & Classification

Introduction to WordPress

Begin to understand how African Languages are classified and use ethnologue to find information about languages.


Childs pg 1-37


Week 3: February 11

Classification & Introduction to WordPress

Continue classification – understand the subtle difference between megalocomparison and mass comparison.

Look at ethnologue & all it can do


Childs pg 37-55


Webpage assignment (Assignment 0) DUE Feb 10, 11:59pm

Week 4: February 18


Week 5: Feb 25

Phonetics and Phonology / Clicks & Hlonipha

Learn about sound systems and why African languages are unique in their phonetic inventories and why this is relevant to study of African languages today. Explain the relationship between language change, migration, social structures, traditions, and sound systems


Childs 55-96


Peter Ladefoged’s web CD


Assignment 1 DUE Assignment 1 Classification

Week 6: March 4

Semantics & Ideophones

What is an ideophone and how is it different from expressions such as “ouch”, etc. Noun class markers, negation, multiple tenses


Childs 117-136

Week 7: March 11

Syntax: agglutinating & isolating languages, WordPress

Serial verb constructions, theories on isolating vs. agglutinating languages





Assignment – Phonology phono HW african langs

Week 8: March 18


Diachronic typology, how African languages have helped fill in the gaps of archeological records.


Childs 153-174

Week 9: March 25

Migration & Fragmentation

Identify the Fragmentation belt and explain how it had such an impact on languages and how we can see it today.


Assignment Historical Assignment – Historical Issues

Week 10: April 1

Creoles & Pidgins

What’s a pidgin, what’s a creole, what’s a dialect and why are they significant for African languages?


Childs 203-216

Week 11: April 8

Social Effects of Language Contact via Colonialization

What effects of colonization do we see today? Why colonization had different linguistics effects from other types of contact.


Assignment Typological Assignment Typological


Childs 188-202

April 14-22:

APRIL 14:  Political/Educational HW DUE!! Assignment Political


Week 12: April 29

Language in the schools & government: major movements

Understand what is required for a language to be able to be taught in a school and why native language education is so crucial to understanding


Watch: Dr Blade Nzimande: The role of African Languages in a 21st century education


Assignment – Sociology social HW african langs

Week 13: May 6

Technology and African languages: documentation and connection

Become familiar with some of the technologies and advances made to document and preserve African languages. Develop an understanding of the power of English and other European languages as many African languages are never used to deliver content information.

Week 14: May 13


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