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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

ENTFÄLLT KRANKHEITSBEDINGT: Afrikakolloquium am 05.12.

Wann 05.12.2018 von 16:15 bis 17:45 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100) iCal
Wo Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Invalidenstr. 118, 4. Etage, Raum 410
Kontakt Telefon 030 2093-66022


Dieser Termin entfällt krankheitsbedingt






Nico Nassenstein

(Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)


Studying a peripheral colonial language: Contact and change in Bangala (C30A)


Among the widespread contact languages of Central Africa (alongside Lingala, Kikongo-Kituba, Kiswahili, varieties of Arabic and Sango), Bangala is the least known and studied language spoken mainly in northeastern DR Congo, South Sudan and parts of West Nile, Uganda. Bangala, a Bantu language used by approximately 200-400,000 L2 speakers, is a former colonial language whose emergence is linked to Van Kerckhoven’s Nile Expedition (1891-93), who initially introduced Bangala in the former Lado Enclave. While Scheutist missionaries elaborated and adapted the closely related Lingala (both share a common precolonial predecessor, a contact variety) around the turn of the 20th century, Bangala was never standardized and thus developed independently from all (language) political influence (see also Meeuwis 2006). Yet, as a medium of communication of the colonial army and colonial agents (in the Belgian Congo), its diffusion was linked to acts of colonial violence and oppression (as still remembered by elderly speakers nowadays). While the more widespread and popular language Lingala has steadily gained speakers, the number of Bangala speakers is declining, mostly due to its lack of prestige and status as remote pidgin. In my talk, I sketch the sociohistorical and sociolinguistic background of Bangala in colonial times; I then discuss today’s Bangala and its divergence from colonial grammar sketches (Wtterwulghe 1899, Mackenzie 1910, H.A.M 1916, Van Mol 1927) and present increasing convergence patterns with Lingala; third, I aim to present specific morphosyntactic features potentially resulting from language contact with non-Bantu languages of the broader area (Kakwa, Lugbara, Juba Arabic), which are often explained as processes of pidginization.


Nico Nassenstein is junior professor (“Juniorprofessor”) of African Linguistics at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (since 2017), holds a PhD from the University of Cologne, and is mainly interested in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and structural features of Central and East African contact languages in the Bantu area, with a geographical focus on Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. He is co-editor of the journals Swahili Forum, Afrikanistik-Ägyptologie-Online and TheMouth.


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