Bantu 10 Conference


10th  International Conference on Bantu Languages   (Bantu 10)              



  •        Phonetics and Phonology
  •        Morphosyntax and Syntax
  •        Semantics and Pragmatics
  •        Bantu Languages in Historical Linguistics
  •        Language and Technology 
  •        Acquisition of Bantu Languages
  •        Language in Education 
  •        Language Contact
  •        Information Structure 
  •        Tense and Aspect System


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Conference Date          

12th – 14th  August 2024                


Keynote Speakers 

  1. Lessons on tone in Bantu languages by Lee S. Bickmore, Professor of Anthropology, Languages, Literature and Cultures, University at Albany (State University of New York) 
  2. The noun modifying constructions in Bantu, Nobuko Yoneda, Professor at Graduate School, Osaka University, Japan.
  3. The Bantu expansion, Koen Bostoen, Professor of African linguistics and Swahili, Ghent University, Belgium.



The proposed workshop brings together linguists working on a neglected area of Bantu linguistics: the syntax of the noun phrase (or DP) and its prosody. The syntax of noun phrases in Bantu remains an understudied area (but see Rugemalira 2006, van de Velde 2019) and even less attention has been paid to their prosody, despite much focus on the prosodic structures of sentences. Recent studies such as Lee and Riedel (2021), show that prosody (specifically penultimate lengthening) is used together with word order to mark focus inside the DP in Southern Bantu languages like Tsonga. In addition, Lee and Riedel (2023) provide a preliminary overview of the DP structures of Southern Bantu languages showing that in these languages DP word order is free or nearly completely free, showing a gap in typologies such as Rugemalira (2006) or van de Velde (2019). This workshop aims to shed light on how far the prosody-syntax interactions observed in Southern Bantu extends to the rest of the family and opens this topic to a wider audience. 

Convenors: SEUNGHUN J. LEE (International Christian University, University of Venda); KRISTINA RIEDEL (University of the Witwatersrand)



The role of Swahili as a major lingua franca throughout East Africa has resulted in sustained contact with Bantu and non-Bantu languages in the area (Mous 2003, Kiessling et al. 2008, Petzell 2012). Today, Swahili has more than 100 million speakers spread across a large geographic area and encompassing diverse multilingual communities and linguistic ecologies. This situation has resulted in the influence of Swahili on East African community languages (e.g. Brenzinger & Marten 2016, Yoneda 2010, Gibson & Marten 2019, Lusekelo 2013, Kutsukake & Yoneda 2023) and also in the influence from community languages on Swahili, resulting in diverse contact effects and different features in different areas (e.g. King’ei 2000, Shinagawa 2021, Nassenstein 2020, Marten & Gibson 2023). This workshop aims to bring together researchers interested in contact between Swahili and other East African languages. It considers the processes by which contact influences the language varieties found in the region, how languages are used in these multilingual contexts and language practices and ideologies relevant to language change and language contact.

Convenors: Hannah Gibson (University of Essex), Ponsiano Kanijo (University of Dar es Salaam), Lutz Marten (SOAS), Teresa Poeta - University of Essex ( and Julius Taji (University of Dar es Salaam).



Information structure (IS) and its interplay with morphosyntactic operations such as agreement marking or inversion constructions, has been a major field of morphosyntactic studies in Bantu languages, where IS is deeply intertwined with other grammatical components (Downing & Hyman 2016, Downing & Marten 2019, Van der Wal 2022). For example, with respect to focus grammatical categories such as negative polarity or progressive aspect often pattern with expression of focus (Hyman & Watters 1984, Güldemann 2003) and the conjoint/disjoint alternation found in many Bantu languages straddles focus, constituent structure, and prosody (Van der Wal and Hyman 2017). On the other hand, concept of topic is central to analyses in particular of word order and agreement (GivoĢn 1976, Bresnan & Mchombo 1987, Morimoto 2006, Yoneda 2011). The study of Bantu languages thus makes an important contribution to our understanding of focus and topic, and their interaction and theoretical understanding (cf. Hamlaoui & Makasso 2015, Arnold et al. 2013). This workshop aims to explore the relation between context-free morphosyntactic mechanisms and context-bound information status through revisiting the dichotomy of topic and focus by posing a wider question, namely how linguistic/grammatical structure interacts with and might be shaped by use in context. Our interest covers issues including:

  • How much or how little IS concepts should be reflected in syntax (cf. Van der Wal 2022: 269, Marten 2007 from a Dynamic Syntax perspective)?
  • IS concepts of different types of topic and focus and their interrelations (e.g. structural parallels between identificational focus vs. afterthought topic, Marten 2007: 122-8; 10-5)
  • Findings on grammaticalisation processes involving IS and IS related categories
  • The expression and interaction of IS with different parts of the linguistic system


Convenors: Daisuke Shinagawa (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) ( and Lutz Marten (SOAS)






Language is more than a mere tool for communication; it is a window into the cognitive structures, cultural practices, and environmental interactions of societies. As Berlin (1992) highlighted, societies construct their unique classifications for the biodiversity surrounding them. The domain of ethnobotany offers an insightful lens through which linguistic patterns can be understood, especially in terms of nomenclature. Bantu languages present an interesting case study for this intersection of linguistics and ethnobotany. Heine and Legere's groundbreaking work on Swahili (Heine & Legère, 1995) and subsequent studies on Vidunda, Kwanyama, and Kwangwali have enlightened the intricate linguistic structures these languages employ to classify plants (Legère, 2009; 2020). Their findings shed light on the categorisations and the cultural and ecological influences driving them. However, a rich interplay of history, culture, phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary across Bantu creates a complex and interconnected linguistic landscape. The 18-noun class system intrinsic to these languages forms a bedrock for categorisation, yet as current research indicates, there is no uniformity across languages in how plants are slotted (Legere, 2020; Lusekelo & Amir, 2022). What drives these variations? Could it be phonological constraints, morphological patterns, or semantic fields? Or perhaps sociolinguistic factors, like contact with other languages or shifts in cultural practices? The observed variations across these languages raise not only ethnobotanical questions but also linguistic ones about how semantics, morphology, and phonology intertwine in the act of naming. Therefore, in this workshop, we expect to address these questions:

  • How do Bantu languages classify each plant name in the noun class system?
  • What strategies are employed to name plants in individual Bantu languages?
  • How is semantics engaged in naming plants in individual Bantu languages?
  • How are plant categorisations reflected in Bantu language structures?


Convenors: Onesmo S. Nyinondi -  Sokoine University of Agriculture (, Peter Mziray - Sokoine University of Agriculture, Adriano Utenga – University of Dodoma and Julius Taji - University of Dar es Salaam.


Local Organizing Committee

  1. Dr. Loveluck Muro                         Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  2. Prof. Amani Lusekelo                    Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  3. Dr. Julius Taji                                University of Dar es Salaam
  4. Dr. Margreth Kibiki                        Dar es Salaam University College of Education           
  5. Dr. Chrispina Alphonce                  University of Dodoma
  6. Dr. Ikupa Moses                           Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  7. Dr. Rodrick Ndomba                      Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  8. Prof.. Devet Goodness                Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  9. Dr. Aurelia Mallya                         University of Dar es Salaam
  10. Dr. Jonas Manyasa                     Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  11. Dr. Saul Bichwa                          Dar es Salaam University College of Education
  12. Dr. Kuria Mdoe                            Dar es Salaam University College of Education


International Steering Committee

  1. Prof. Lutz Marten                            SOAS University of London, United Kingdom  
  2. Prof. Mark van de Velde                   LLACAN (CNRS-INALCO), Paris, France  
  3. Dr. Lotta Aunio                                University of Helsinki, Finland  
  4. Prof. Mantoa Motinyane                   University of Cape Town, South Africa  
  5. Dr. Hannah Gibson                          University of Essex, United Kingdom   
  6. Dr. Atikonda Mtenje-Mkochi             Malawi University of Science and Technology
  7. Prof. Claire Halpert                          University of Minnesota, USA 
  8. Prof. Amani Lusekelo                      University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania  
  9. Prof. Nobuko Yoneda                      University of Osaka, Japan 
  10. Prof. Alexander Zheltov                  St Petersburg State University, Russia  


Language of the Conference

The main language of the conference shall be English. Nonetheless, papers in French and Kiswahili had been accepted and scheduled in parallel venues.



Bantu 10 Conference will be held in the University of Dar es Salaam at Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE). DUCE Campus is located in Temeke District of Dar es Salaam Region. 



Ports Line Hotel & SPA (Adjacent to DUCE Campus, Temeke, Dar es Salaam)

The Salvation Army – Mgulani Hostels (10 Minutes Walking Distance)


Conference fee 

Professors / Lecturers:      TZS 200,000 (USD 80) 
PhD / MA Students:           TZS 100,000 (USD 40)



Pay conference fee:    Bank: NBC Bank      Name: DUCE Foreign Account      Account Number: 071105000038    Swift Code: NLCBTZTX     Adress: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Local Payment:         Bank: CRDB Bank       Name:  DUCE Main Account       Account Number:  01J1092000000.

Prof. Amani Lusekelo

Dr. Chrispina Alphonce

Dr. Loveluck Muro

Dr.Ikupa Moses

Dr. Rodrick Ndomba

Dr. Margreth Kibiki 


Dr. Julius Taji 

Prof. Devet Goodness

Dr.Saul Bichwa