African and Middle Eastern languages

African Studies at the University of Helsinki focuses on the cultures and societies of Africa. With its rapidly growing economies, population growth, migration, and burgeoning entertainment industries, Africa is increasingly present in everyday life in Europe. We study diverse topics in identity, education, sustainability, and civic society, among others, especially as these relate to languages and language use. Through our studies, we seek to understand the dynamics of African societies and the role of languages in the changing world.

Focal areas of research include:

  • Language contact in its social context
    • Multilingualism, civic participation, and sustainable development
    • Research on small-scale, societal and individual multilingualisms in rural and urban areas and in African Diasporas
    • Language teaching and learning, including university language teaching, classes for Diaspora students and multilingual language learning and literacy
    • Multilingual language acquisition and socialization
  • Description of un(der)described Bantu, Atlantic, Mande and Nilo-Saharan languages
    • Grammatical descriptions of Mara Bantu languages, isiNdebele, Nzadi, and Totela (Bantu), Uduk (Nilo-Saharan), Mano (Mande), Somali
    • Nominal classification in Atlantic languages
    • Tense, aspect and modality in Bantu languages
    • Tone systems and other prosodic features of Eastern and Southern Bantu languages
    • Syntax and pragmatics in Mande languages
  • Anthropological linguistics of Africa
    • Religion and religious language
  • Corpora of African languages

We are active in the HALS (Helsinki Area and Language Studies) community.

The African studies staff participate actively in the editorial work of the following academic publications:

Show more info