I am an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in the Department of African and Ethiopian Studies at the University of Hamburg (Germany), working on a 2-year project entitled “Documentation and analysis of siPhûthî, a Nguni-Sotho hybrid language under threat”. I am also a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (UK).
I hold a PhD and MSc in Linguistics from Georgetown University (USA) and a MA and BA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge (UK). After completing my PhD, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for African Language Diversity (CALDi) at the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and a Lecturer in Linguistics and Languages of Asia and Africa at SOAS, University of London (UK).
My main research interests include endangered, minority and heritage languages, language documentation and revitalisation, language maintenance and shift, language policy, and language and education.
I have conducted linguistic fieldwork on a number of African languages, including N/uu (South Africa), SiPhûthî (Lesotho), !Xun (Namibia), ǂHoan (Botswana) and Ngiemboon (Cameroon). I have also worked on Gujarati in the diaspora (London, Johannesburg, Singapore) and on German in Namibia and South Africa.
12-21 November 2018
I was invited to participate in the Linguistic Diversity Residency Programme and Workshop, hosted by Linguapax and Faber Residency of Arts, Sciences and Humanities in Olot and Barcelona, Spain, from 12-21 November 2018. More info here (residency in Olot) and here (workshop in Barcelona).
3 October 2018
Hot off the press: Shah, Sheena & Matthias Brenzinger (2018). The role of teaching in language revival and revitalization movements. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 38, 201-208.
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Announcing: Heritage Language Policies around the World (2017, Routledge)
Just released! More information on the Routledge website
Heritage language policies define the context in which heritage languages are maintained or abandoned by communities, and this volume describes and analyzes international policy strategies, as well as the implications for the actual heritage language speakers.
This volume brings together heritage language policy case studies from around the world, foregrounding globalization by covering five regions: the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. The countries profiled include the United States, Canada, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Uganda, Namibia, Morocco, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji. This volume also highlights an expanded definition of 'heritage language', choosing to focus on individual and community identities, and therefore including both Indigenous and immigrant languages.
Focusing specifically on language policy relating to heritage languages, the chapters address key questions such as:
- Are heritage languages included or excluded from the national language policy discourse?
- What are the successes and shortcomings of efforts to establish heritage language policies?
- What is the definition of 'heritage language' in official usage by the local/regional government and stakeholders?
- How are these language policies perceived by the actual heritage language communities?