BantUGent research seminar with talks in African Archaeology and Linguistics by Igor Matonda, Maud Devos and Sara Pacchiarotti

What? BantUGent research seminar
When? May 25, 2023
Where? Room 3.30 Camelot, Blandijn, Campus Boekentoren + online  through MsTeams
10:00-10:30 Igor Matonda (UNIKIN – BantUGent):  Mapping the Archaeological Landscape of the Kwilu-Kasai River Network, Democratic Republic of the Congo
10:30-11:00 Maud Devos (RMCA – BantUGent)  Coconuts in Bantu languages: The story of the Cocos nucifera L. as told through language
11:00-11:30 Sara Pacchiarotti (BantUGent):  The Congo-Ubangi watershed : An interdisciplinary approach to the genesis of a linguistic accretion zone in Central Africa



Sifra Van Acker (

Lorenzo Maselli (

ΔiaLing talk Hilde Gunnink (BantUGent) “Bantu-Khoisan contact in Southern Africa: reconstructing prehistoric contact situations”

Pre-colonial Southern Africa is characterized by two language groups: Bantu languages, who arrived through southward migrations in the last two thousand years, and Khoisan languages, spoken by some of Southern Africa’s first inhabitants. Contact between these two groups led to the demise of most Khoisan-speaking communities, but also to extensive contact-induced changes in Southern African Bantu languages. In this talk, I give an overview of Bantu-Khoisan contact, which linguistic features Bantu languages adopted from their Khoisan-speaking neighbours, and the social, cultural and economic circumstances under which these different ethnolinguistic populations interacted. Using historical linguistic methods, I show that certain Khoisan-derived features in Bantu languages date back to earlier reconstructed stages of the languages, suggesting a certain time-depth, and giving insight into how Bantu-Khoisan interactions changed throughout time. 

BantUGent-ECC talk — Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University) “Girling African History and Historicizing Girlhoods through Language Data in East and Central Africa”

On Friday May 26, 2023, the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies and the Economies, Comparisons, Connections research group co-organize a talk by Prof. Dr. Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University) on Girling African History and Historicizing Girlhoods through Language Data in East and Central Africa.

Venue: Faculty Room, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent + online upon request

Time: 11am CET

More info:

Though they have been drivers of social and historical change and been important sources of knowledge, girls in Africa have rarely been the focus of historical scholarship. African girls and their status as young people tend to be assessed flatly as perpetual and complicit victims (Katshunga 2019: 55). This elision cuts off possibilities and make girls in Africa simultaneously scapegoats for social problems (Oduro et al. 2012), targets of pity and the “salvationist gaze” (George 2014: 113), and dependents on benevolence from elders, government representatives, and development institutions. It is both this gap in the scholarship and the harm created by such views of African girls in the present that shape the historical questions raised in this paper.Through an examination of East and Central African language evidence relevant to generation, girlhood, and family, this paper makes claims about the historical possibilities around girlhood in ancient times as means of reconsidering the social status and meaning of girlhoods in more recent eras. There will be opportunities for discussion of comparative historical linguistics and uncovering and representing girls’ voices in written historical records to better understand their roles in family and across generations. How might language data help to ensure girls’ contributions are represented in histories at least as well as male youths’ experiences are.

BantuFirst workshop “An Archaeology of the Bantu Expansion: early settlers south of the Congo rainforest”

Between 2018 and 2022 the BantuFirst archaeology team conducted seven field seasons across Kinshasa, Kwilu, Mai-Ndombe, and Kongo-Central provinces. Through a combination of large-scale survey and targeted excavations, the project has identified 176 new sites ranging in age from the Middle Stone Age (~300ka BP) through the colonial period. Excavations at 26 of these locations has produced voluminous new information on the changing material culture, subsistence practices, and settlement patterns of the communities south of the Congo rainforest, as well as the evolving palaeoenvironmental conditions in which they lived. This data also includes c. 100 new carbon-14 dates, extending from 30ka – 400 BP, with which these processes have been radiometrically anchored. This BantuFirst workshop is meant to prepare an edited book volume that will publish, contextualize and valorize this wealth of new and varied datasets. It will develop from these original data new insights on early settlement south of the Congo rainforest over the last three millennia, and challenge settled truths about the Bantu Expansion. In order to expand the scope and perspectives, multiple subject experts unaffiliated with the BantuFirst project have been included as contributors to the workshop and the volume.

Closing workshop ILCAA-BantUGent Joint Research Project “‘The Past and Present of Bantu Languages: Integrating Micro-Typology, Historical-Comparative Linguistics and Lexicography”

For online participation (only for Day 2), please register here.

Day 1 (closed session)

Session 1 (13.30-15.00 JST = GMT+9)

Data session: A Cross-Bantu perspective on causative/inchoative verb alternation

Convenor: Koen Bostoen (BantUGent)

“A historical-comparative exploration of causative/inchoative verb alternations in Bantu”

Discussants: Shigeki Kaji (Kyoto Sangyo University), Maya Abe (Osaka University)

Session 2 (15.30-17.00 JST = GMT+9)

Data session: Subject properties in Bantu

Convenor: Nobuko Yoneda (Osaka University)

Discussants: Guy Kouarata (BantUGent), Yuka Makino (ILCAA/JSPS)

Day 2 (open session)

Session 3 (09.30-11.00 JST = GMT+9)

Makoto Furumoto (ILCAA): “Rethinking the historical relation of Zanzibar Swahili with Comorian”

Minah Nabirye (BantUGent): “Cleft constructions in Lusoga (Bantu, JE16)”

Sara Pacchiarotti (BantUGent) & Heidi Goes (BantUGent):  “The reconstruction of Proto-WCB independent and possessive pronouns for speech act participants: does morphological evidence align with lexicon-based phylogenetic groupings?”


Symposium (13.00-16.15 JST = GMT+9)

13.00-13.15:  Opening remarks

13.15-14.00: Cross-Bantu typology

Daisuke Shinagawa (ILCAA) “A micro-parametric appraoch to cross-Bantu typology and its insight to the group-internal structural diversification” — Discussant: Sara Pacchiarotti (BantUGent)

14.15-15.00: Historical linguistics

Koen Bostoen (BantUGent) “The Bantu Expansion or how West Africans transformed Africaʼs linguistic, cultural and biological landscapes” — Discussant: Nobuko Yoneda (Osaka University)

15.15-16.00: Lexicography

Gilles-Maurice de Schryver (BantUGent) “Investigating the feasibility of a hub-and-spoke model to hold ILCAA’s Bantu lexica into a single multipurpose online dictionary database” — Discussant: Kanji Kato (Research Organization of Information and Systems/TUFS)

16.00-16.15: Closing remarks

This event is organised and financially supported by the JSPS-FWO Bilateral Project “The Past and Present of Bantu Languages: Integrating Micro-Typology, Historical-Comparative Linguistics and Lexicography”. It is co-organized by the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies (BantUGent) and ILCAA’s core project of linguistics “Description and Documentation of Language Dynamics in Asia and Africa: Toward a More In-depth Understanding of the Languages and Cultures of People Living in Asia and Africa (DDDLing)”.

‘The Past and Present of Bantu Languages: Integrating Micro-Typology, Historical-Comparative Linguistics and Lexicography’ is a bilateral joint research program funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in association with the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).

Alphaconceptual+ combined with hub-and-spoke lexicography to produce a new type of online dictionary

BantUGent research seminar with Sara Pacchiarotti & Heidi Goes on The reconstruction of Proto-WCB independent and possessive pronouns

What? BantUGent research seminar
When? February 23, 2023
Where? Camelot, Blandijn, Blandijnberg 2, Gent
Who? Sara Pacchiarotti & Heidi Goes on The reconstruction of Proto-WCB independent and possessive pronouns for speech act participants: does morphological evidence support lexicon-based phylogenetic groupings?

We prefer to welcome you in real life, but if you cannot make it, you can follow online through MS Teams. Ask Sifra Van Acker to get the link.

BantUGent research seminar with talk Rasmus Bernander (Gothenburg & Helsinki University) on possibility adverbs in East African Bantu

What? BantUGent research seminar
When? November 8 2022, 2pm
Where? Camelot (room 3.30) (third floor Blandijnberg 2)
Rasmus Bernander (Gothenburg & Helsinki University) will give a talk on Possibility adverbs in East African Bantu – a typological-comparative overview.

We prefer to welcome you in real life, but if you cannot make it, you can follow online through MS Teams. Ask Sifra Van Acker for more information.

Rasmus BERNANDER | PhD | PhD | University of Helsinki, Helsinki | HY | Department of World Cultures