Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Department of African Studies

African linguistics and African languages

Africa is characterized by an extraordinarily heterogeneous language situation. Linguistics is concerned with pursuing and teaching linguistical-historical linkages and typological characteristics of languages and language groups. On the other hand, this necessitates a focus on teaching languages which are most relevant for communicative use.

African languages with their communicative functions are seen and treated as expression and means of African culture. Based on this assumption, the task of linguistic description and of teaching African languages is linked with sociolinguistics.

At the moment and in the foreseeable future, research activities focus on West and Northeastern Africa, with research projects on Gur- and Kwa-languages of the Niger-Congo family (West Africa) and on Sotho in South Africa.