14th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium

30 May - 1 June 2019

VENUE: Department of African Studies/University of Vienna

ORGANIZER: Department of African Studies/University of Vienna

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: Norbert Cyffer, Karsten Legère & Georg Ziegelmeyer

CONTACT: norbert.cyffer@univie.ac.at & karsten.legere@univie.ac.at & georg.ziegelmeyer@univie.ac.at


Among the African linguistic phyla, the Nilo-Saharan language group is a more recent one. After
Joseph Greenberg had proposed this in 1963, arguments for and against the validity of the phylum
were brought up.

Though the existence of a Nilo-Saharan phylum is nowadays largely accepted, there are still diverging
views about the internal relations, especially with regard to the kind and the degree of linguistic
relationship. Those among us, who remember the fruitful arguments of Lionel Bender and
Christopher Ehret in the end of the last century, will agree that such discussions have helped us to
understand the complexity of Nilo-Saharan.

Now, several decades later data on Nilo-Saharan languages have grown enormously. On the one
hand, it will be important to further increase the knowledge of the individual languages. On the other
hand, the analyses of the internal genetic or contact based relations will finally lead us to get a better
understanding of the linguistic and historical complexity in Africa.

The fact that the Nilo-Saharan languages are spread over a large area in East, Central and West Africa
also resulted in growing dissimilarities between the different linguistic groups. They are interrupted
by languages and families of the Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic phyla. This may lead us to the
assumption that areal features may also have affected the Nilo-Saharan languages and vice versa.
We invite contributors to present papers which contain data and analyses of these languages or
language units. At the same time, presentations are highly welcome, in which relations between
languages and language groups are presented.

Therefore, we encourage participants to present contributions on:
– the inventory and validity of the Nilo-Saharan languages,
– internal relations within the Nilo-Saharan phylum,
– new linguistic data of individual languages,
– common linguistic features in Nilo-Saharan,
– areal and contact features in Nilo-Saharan.


Regular: 90€
PhD students: 30€
(To be paid on site)

Expected TALKS (pdf)

List of HOTELS in Vienna (PDF)