English Ph.D. student Thanh Nguyen, Senior Erik Platner, Junior Sarah Pribe, and Senior Alexa Thein presented a poster, Phylogenetic classification of Luyia language varieties, at the 49th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, which took place at Michigan State University, March 29-31, 2018. Supervised by Dr. Rebecca Grollemund and Dr. Michael Marlo, the students propose a new classification of the Luyia cluster of Bantu languages spoken in western Kenya and eastern Uganda, by comparing core vocabulary in 15 Luyia varieties with 13 of their nearest neighbors to the west and south, and 4 more distantly related languages.

Professor Matthew Gordon gave a plenary address at the Purdue Linguistics, Literature, and Second Language Studies Conference on March 3, 2018. His talk, “The secret life of vowels: Lessons from the study of sound change,” reviewed insights from the sociolinguistic investigation of large-scale sound changes with an emphasis on the Northern Cities Shift.

Senior Alexa Thein discussed her language documentation research on the Luyia languages of western Kenya at the College of Arts & Science annual banquet on February 23, 2018. Alexa presented a poster and spoke at the event about her summer field work experience. Alexa worked as part of a team of undergraduate researchers mentored by Dr. Rebecca Grollemund and Dr. Michael Marlo.

The University of Missouri lost a treasured colleague with the passing of Dr. Flore Zéphir on December 15, 2017. Dr. Zéphir was a Professor of French and an affiliate of the Program in Linguistics. She joined our faculty in 1988 and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in French language and sociolinguistics. Her research expertise lay in bilingualism and immigrant studies, and many of her publications reported on studies of Haitian-American communities. For more information about Dr. Zéphir’s career and how you can contribute to a memorial fund in her name, please see this page from the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures [éphir].

Professor Rebecca Grollemund was a co-author on “Dispersals and genetic adaptation of Bantu-speaking populations in Africa and North America” which appeared in the May 5, 2017 issue of Science. This paper draws on linguistic history and genomic evidence related to the spread of the Bantu languages and people.