It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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A reporter recently asked me, "Which of today's languages is most like its ancestor?" What he wanted to know is: speakers of which of today's languages would be able to go back in time the farthest and be able to communicate verbally?
I suspect it is a language with a written heritage. Any speculation would be welcome. If the replies warrant it, I will post a summary.