Language Documentation and Description in Africa

Gilles-Maurice de Schryver
Target group
BA in African Languages and Cultures, BA in Oriental Languages and Cultures, BA in History, BA in Moral Sciences, BA in Philosophy, etc.

About Language Documentation and Description in Africa


language endangerment, language death, language revitalization, language documentation, culture documentation, language description, archiving, dissemination, Bantu, Africa

Position of the course

This course provides a broad introduction to language documentation and description, a new sub-discipline within linguistics, with special attention to the African languages. A recent international handbook is being used as guide (Boerger et al. 2020); during the classes the examples are taken from the experiences of the BantUGent research group.


  • Part 1: Theory

  Lesson 1 – Language endangerment, language death and language revitalization: What?
  Lesson 2 – Language and culture documentation: What?
  Lesson 3 – Themes, motivations and ethical aspects

  • Part 2: A language and culture documentation project

  Lesson 4 – Planning of a documentation project
  Lesson 5 – The documentary corpus and archive
  Lesson 6 – BantUGent GUEST 1

  • Part 3: Equipment and software

  Lesson 7 – Equipment
  Lesson 8 – Software

  • Part 4: Fieldwork

  Lesson 9 – Data management and elicitation
  Lesson 10 – Fieldwork
  Lesson 11 – BantUGent GUEST 2

  • Part 5: Post-field processing

  Lesson 12 – Archiving, description, publication and dissemination