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Bua Comparative Project: Documentation and history of a language family of southern Chad

Pascal Boyeldieu, Ulrich Kleinewillinghöfer and Florian Lionnet, LLACAN-CNRS - Paris, France; Universities of Frankfurt, Bayreuth and Mainz, Germany; Princeton University

April 12, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 1-S-5 Green Hall

Program in Linguistics

In this presentation, we report on ongoing descriptive and comparative-historical research on the Bua languages of Chad, a genetically related linguistic group that remains relatively little-known. We  present the languages and internal classification of the Bua group, give a historical review of the state of documentation of the languages, and discuss some salient phonological and morphological features (consonants, vowels, tone, nominal classification) in both synchronic and diachronic perspective, with proposed proto-Bua reconstructions. Finally, we  end the presentation by showing morphological evidence which link the Bua languages within Niger-Congo to noun class languages spoken in the Upper Benue Basin as well as to the Gur languages spoken in the Volta Basin.


Pascal Boyeldieu is a Senior Researcher (directeur de recherche) in the African Languages Laboratory (LLACAN) at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, France. He specializes in the synchronic and diachronic study of Central African languages (Adamawa, Ubangi, Sara-Bongo-Bagirmi). He has done extensive fieldwork in Chad, the Central African Republic, and Sudan.


Ulrich Kleinewillinghöfer has been working as a (senior) researcher in several research projects based at the German Universities of Frankfurt (Main), Bayreuth and Mainz. He specializes in the description of Niger-Congo languages traditionally classified in the “Gur” and “Adamawa” groups, spoken in the vast area between the Volta and Benue basins in West Africa, where he has conducted extensive fieldwork.


Florian Lionnet is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, where he is the Jonathan Dickinson Bicentennial Preceptor as well as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Program in Linguistics. His research focuses on phonetics/phonology, typology, areal and historical linguistics, as well as language documentation and description, with a specific focus on African languages. His current research has been focusing on understudied and endangered languages in southern Chad, where he has conducted annual field trips for the past several years.

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