Linguistics in Tanzania

Language Projects

  • An elephant in Ruaha National Park
    An elephant in Ruaha National Park

I currently work with two language projects: the Mbeya Cluster Project and the Sandawe Project.


Mbeya Cluster Project

I joined the project in January 2006 to head the linguistics team working on the phonological and grammatical descriptions of thirteen related Bantu languages: Bena, Bungu (Wungu), Kinga, Kisi, Malila, Manda, Ndali, Nyakyusa, Nyiha, Pangwa, Safwa, Sangu (Sango) and Vwanji (Wanji).  The project started in 2003 and is based in Mbeya town, in the Southern Highlands area of southwest Tanzania.


Sandawe Project

The Sandawe Project began in 1996, and I was involved full-time from 2002 until 2006, working together with my SIL colleagues Daniel and Elisabeth Hunziker. My role was to complete the phonological and grammatical description of the Sandawe language. Sandawe is spoken by about 65,000 people, most of whom live in an area northwest of Dodoma, which is in the centre of Tanzania. Sandawe shows some linguistic similarities with the Khoe-Kwadi language family.


Although I no longer live in the Sandawe area, I continue to work on the language and consult on any linguistic issues that come up during the ongoing translation process.