Alice Mitchell (University of Cologne) and I gave a talk entitled "Die Sprachen Afrikas in 60 Minuten" to the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband. In this talk, we presented the linguistically fascinating and diverse continent and its languages.
The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) interviewed us on our SADiLaR-supported project. This project, in collaboration with the ebaPhuthi, aims to restore and revitalise the siPhuthi language. Click here to read more about the project.
DocuAfrica has been launched! This new platform features short documentaries of personal accounts on experiences and desires from various African perspectives.
The French news channel, TV5 Monde, did a short news report on our work in Lesotho. Click here to learn about our siPhuthi language documentation project, meet some of the local team members and see beautiful southern Lesotho.
The first book in siPhuthi has been published! Likhosana is the siPhuthi edition of “The Little Prince”, translated by Letzadzo Kometsi and published by Edition Tintenfaß.
It's all about collaboration! Our article on the importance of collaboration between speakers and linguists in language documentation work is out in this year's Social Justice themed Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. Written by an L1 siPhuthi speaker and two linguists, with abstracts in four languages: siPhuthi, Sesotho, isiXhosa and English. Read our paper here.
On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on safeguarding languages around the world, with a focus on Africa, at an event organised by the United Nations Office in Geneva. See more here.
We trained six ebaPhuthi in language documentation methods in Lesotho in November 2021. Read our blog post here.
Together with fellow ELDP grantees Jakob Lesage and Katherine Bolaños, we discussed how we redesigned our language documentation projects during the COVID-19 pandemic to adapt to remote fieldwork. Watch our presentation here (vimeo registration required).
I have been awarded a Major Documentation Project (MDP) grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme. The project "A multimedia corpus of siPhuthi" will kick off on 1 August 2021.
The first ever children's book in N/uu has just been published by Puku Children's Literature Foundation. The folktale entitled "!Qhoi n/a Tjhoi" (Skilpad en Volstruis / Tortoise and Ostrich) is narrated by Ouma Katrina to her granddaughter, Claudia Snyman, and is written in N/uu, with Afrikaans and English translations. We were happy to support this exciting initiative as "N/uu editors".
Hot off the press: Our chapter "We write our language" has been published in an open-access book on language revitalization by Justyna Olko and Julia Sallabank - this edited volume is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in revitalizing their language and is the result of true international collaborations between researchers from multiple fields, language speakers, and activists. Download the book for free here.
The siPhuthi poem written by siPhuthi language activist, Letzadzo Kometsi, which was then subsequently translated into English and Catalan in a 2019 paper which I wrote, has been reproduced in the Catalan bestseller "El futur del català depèn de tu" by Carme Junyent. This poem is a fictive letter from a young girl to her dead mother, in which she laments about not having grown up with siPhuthi as her "mother tongue".
I gave a testimonial about the life and research of a Humboldtian as part of the virtual opening ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the Humboldt Foundation. I was one of two Humboldt Fellows of the Foundation chosen to speak during the Humboldtianer berichten ['Humboldtians report'] part of the programme, which also included welcome addresses by the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Professor Pape. Watch the entire opening ceremony here (my contribution begins at 01:11:15).
I was interviewed by Martha Tsutsui Billins of FieldNotes about community-based language documentation. Listen to the podcast episode here.
5 May 2020
Global problems can be solved only when we work together. In this Corona crisis and in the future.
Here's a short video in German which I made for the Humboldt Foundation to make the case for international research collaboration, scientific exchange, trust and open-mindedness.
I was invited to participate at a conference on interdisciplinary research approaches to multilingualism, language preservation and indigenous languages (Studentische Konferenz zu Interdisziplinären Forschungsansätzen zu Mehrsprachigkeit, Spracherhalt und Indigenen Sprachen) organised by students at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. At this conference, I ran a workshop entitled "Documenting minority languages in Munich, Africa and beyond" and participated in their interdisciplinary panel discussion.
24 September 2019
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, met with Ouma Geelmeid during the National Heritage Day celebration held in Upington on 24 September 2019. Pictured here is President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ouma Geelmeid and our N/uu reader! Photo courtesy of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).
18 September 2019
I was invited to give a talk on endangered languages in Africa at Truman State University as part of their Clayton B. Ofstad Reading Series, organised by the Department of English and Linguistics, and their Global Issues Colloquium.
I was invited to spend half a semester at Truman State University as their Clayton B. Ofstad Writer-In-Residence. During my time at Truman State University, I taught an 8-week undergraduate course on languages on the African continent.
26-28 June 2019
I was invited to participate in the Annual Meeting of the Humboldt Foundation. Highlights of the meeting included speeches by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. More info here.
I was invited to give a talk at the University of Texas at Austin on German language varieties in rural South Africa. More info here.
I was invited to the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) to teach linguistic fieldwork and documentation at the week-long SEcoKa Autumn School. SEcoKa (The Syntactic Ecology of Kaaps) is a three-year NRF-funded project which investigates the grammar of Kaaps as a hybrid system. More info here.
I received a research grant from the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research to document oral traditions of the ebaPhuthi in Lesotho.
I was invited to attend the closing workshop of the Crossroads project at SOAS University of London. More info here.
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).
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.
Based on the 2017 Impact Factor, the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL) has risen to be #1 of 181 Linguistics journals! Congratulations to editor-in-chief, Alison Mackey, each of us serving on the editorial board, our contributors and many others working behind the scene!
I was invited to attend an Uncanny Lore Workshop entitled “From resistance to re-existence – Legal empowerment, reclaiming heritage, ancestral land and justice in Southern Africa” in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, from 19-24 June 2018. More info here.
I have been awarded a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. A 24-month long fellowship, starting September 2018, to conduct research at the University of Hamburg on the siPhuthi language spoken in Lesotho.
I was invited to attend Research Councils UK’s third Global Engagement Meeting in Pretoria, South Africa from 5-6 December 2017.