Africa-related linguistic research at the University of Bayreuth covers the following language areas:
The research approaches in these different disciplines have in common that they take into account the social and cultural environment of the speech community concerned, and that they use corpus-based methods, i.e. they are concerned with the collection and analysis of large text corpora. The disciplines cooperate with each other in teaching and research. This is shown for instance by the "Linguistic Colloquium" of the faculty. There are differences arising from the nature of the research objects and the research situation in each discipline, which are described briefly below.
African Linguistics is concerned with languages that in many cases have never been properly described. An important task here is the preparation of grammars and dictionaries, which are essential for the development of orthographies and teaching materials. In addition to recording language data, fieldwork also involves the collection of as wide a variety as possible of both fictional and non-fictional texts. An important tradition in African language studies in Germany is the historical approach, in which languages are compared and wherever possible historical texts are analysed.
English Linguistics is interested in the varieties of English spoken in Africa, as well as English-based contact languages in Africa and in the African diaspora. The main research areas are:
Arabic Linguistics at Bayreuth is interested in the African varieties of Arabic, focusing especially on the following areas:
Romance Linguistics is concerned with the varieties of French in Africa and studies them in different contexts, situations and areas, for instance in the media (especially radio, TV, internet) and in contexts involving the transfer of knowledge (including medical communication and prevention services). Research is mainly focused on the use of French in verbal interactions between different speakers (sociolinguistics, pragmatics, conversation analysis) and the representation and analysis of specific features of African varieties of French.
The research area of the junior professorship also concentrates on the post-colonial results of contact between African languages and the colonial languages Spanish, Portuguses and French, and their continued development in subsequent contact situations. Research is focused on the emergence of particular language varieties and new languages (so-called creole languages) in these contexts, and comparison of the artistic representation of multicultural and multilingual identity in popular text-music genres (especially rap/hip hop).