What is the Circle about?

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) 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.

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Circle members

Informal steering committee:

Dr Ann Hildah Gataaka, Chuka University, Kenya

Prof Dr Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Secretary: Bert van Pinxteren, PhD student, Leiden University, Netherlands


Prof Dr Enoch Aboh, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dr Azeb Amha, African Studies Centre, Leiden University, Netherlands

Dr Lilian Tem Atanga, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Dr Elise Bagamboula, INALCO/PLIDAM, France

Tsabedze Bhekumusa, William Pitcher College, Swaziland

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, Cameroon

Dr Kanana Fridah Erastus, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Dr Matthew Harley, Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Nigeria

Prof Dr Paul Kerswill, University of York, UK

Dr Palesa Khotso, Lesotho College of Education

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

Dr Aloysia Makoae, Lesotho College of Education

Prof Dr Maarten Mous, Leiden University, Netherlands

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

Dr Comfort Ojongnkpot, University of Buea, Cameroon

Prof Dr Émilie Sanon-Ouettara, Ki-Zerbo University, Burkina Faso

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

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



Prof Dr Friederike Lüpke, University of Helsinki, Finland