What is the Circle about?

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The circle is primarily open to scientists who share an interest in the related areas of African languages, language policy, sociolinguistics, education and language economy. Members of the circle follow the ideas of Prah (1998), and others, who argued that African languages are key to Africa’s development. The formation of the circle comes at a time (2019) when the majority of African languages are not used in formal settings but widely employed in informal interactions. Circle members believe that more use of African languages is unavoidable, but that it depends on a certain measure of harmonization and standardization. Linguists and other social scientists have an important role to play in helping to shape practical, efficient, rational, inclusive and African language-based policies on the continent.

The circle is interested in open exchanges of ideas, in foregrounding, stimulating and undertaking scientific work in this area and in active dialogue with policy makers at the national and international level. It takes pride in being inspired and led mainly by African social scientists. It is interdisciplinary in nature and aims to produce material that is accessible to policy makers and the interested lay person.

The circle has facilitated a workshop at the 10th World Congress of African Linguistics in 2021 as well as at the Bantu9 Conference in June 2022. Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, Bert van Pinxteren and Josef Schmied have edited the volume ‘Language of Education and Development in Africa: Prospects for Decolonisation and Empowerment’. It contains papers from a number of Circle members (in part first presented at the Africa Knows! Conference in 2021 and at WOCAL10). A first edition was presented at the VAD 2022 Conference. An updated edition is now available for free download from the publisher’s website.

Circle members

Informal steering committee:

Dr Ann Hildah Gataaka, Chuka University, Kenya

Prof Dr Sarita Monjane Henriksen (Mozambique), Justus Liebig University, Germany

Dr Comfort Ojongnkpot, University of Buea, Cameroon

Dr Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Secretary: Dr Bert van Pinxteren, Leiden University, Netherlands (bert.van.pinxteren at upcmail.nl)


Prof Dr Enoch Aboh, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Prof Dr Pius Akumbu, CNRS/LLACAN, France

Dr Azeb Amha, Leiden University, Netherlands

Dr Lilian Lem Atanga, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Dr Elise Bagamboula, INALCO/PLIDAM, France

Tsabedze Bhekumusa, William Pitcher College, eSwatini

Dr Yassine Boussagui, Mohammed V University, Morocco

Dr Mulumba Mathias Bwanika, Makerere University, Uganda

Prof Dr Andy Chebanne, University of Botswana

Dr Joanne Davis, SOAS, London, UK

Dr Gabriel Delmon Djomeni, University of Dschang, Cameroon

Dr Kanana Fridah Erastus, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Dr Matthew Harley, Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Nigeria

Dr Enoachuo Emilisco Jones, University of Buea, Cameroon

Dr Eliane Sonkoue Kamdem, Schwerin College of Education, Germany

Em Prof Dr Paul Kerswill, University of York, UK

Dr Palesa Khotso (Lesotho), University of the Free State, South Africa

Prof Dr Yamina el Kirat el Allame, Mohammed V University, Morocco

Dr Promise Dodzi Kpoglu, University of Ghana

Dr Michael Kretzer, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany / University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Dr Doris Löhr-Broß, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Dr Aloysia Makoae, Lesotho College of Education

Prof Dr Martha Mbui Njui, University of Douala, Cameroon

Em Prof Dr Maarten Mous, Leiden University, Netherlands

Dr Peter Mose, Kisii University, Kenya

Letsela Motaung, University of the Free State, South Africa

Prof Dr Salikoko Mufwene, University of Chicago, USA

Dr Christfried Naumann, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Germany

Raphaël Otho (Congo Republic), PhD student, INALCO, France

Dr Rethabile Possa-Mogoera, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Dr Samson Olusola Olatunji, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Dr Billian Khalayi Otundo, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Dr Émilie Sanon-Ouattara, Ki-Zerbo University, Burkina Faso

Scott Smith, DEA, SIL Equatorial Guinea / University of Léon, Spain

Ahmed Sosal (Sudan), PhD student, Leiden University

Dr Kgomotso Theledi, Wits University, South Africa

Em Prof Dr Ekkehard Wolff, Leipzig University, Germany

Addisalem Yallew (Ethiopia), PhD student, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Simphiwe Yende, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa