Socio-Spatial Approaches to the Analysis of Multilingualism
This multidisciplinary project, part of the larger KPAAM-CAM (Key Pluridisciplinary Advances on African Multilingualism – Cameroon) project, involves a collaboration between linguists, anthropologists, geographers, and computer scientists to make use of advances in the available tools for mapping the social and linguistic dynamics of individuals living in a rural region of Cameroon known as Lower Fungom, where the average adult speaks five different languages, many of which are endangered.
Language distributions represented on maps are typically quite simplified, assigning only one language to a given area. The reality is more complex. On the one hand, even in places where one language is dominant, there will often be groups who primarily use a different language in some domains, such as at home. On the other hand, many people are able to speak more than one language, and simplified maps are incapable of representing this effectively. To achieve a more realistic sense of language distributions, it is necessary to explore linguistic knowledge and use at the level of the individual.
For more information, contact Jeff Good, Department of Linguistics; Ling Bian, Department of Geography; or Jan Chomicki, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.