African linguistics in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Nordic countries

Roland Kießling, Nina Pawlak, Alexander Zheltov, Arvi Hurskainen

Research outputpeer-review


Outside colonial contexts, Austrian African linguistics in Vienna emerged from Orientalist traditions in symbiosis with Egyptology. The early foundation was laid by Leo Reinisch who had developed interests into the Horn of Africa, providing an enormous amount of descriptive studies of hitherto undocumented Cushitic, Omotic and Nilo-Saharan languages. In the tradition of Oriental studies going back to the mid-eighteenth century in Russia, nineteenth century in Poland, Hungary and former Czechoslovakia, the interest in African languages was developing as an extension of studies on Arabic or Semitic languages, with less Egyptian studies. During the communist period, African studies in Eastern Europe were closely connected with the political situation, which determined the relations between the countries of the Eastern Bloc and Africa. In the Nordic countries, research on African languages is carried out as part of general linguistics. Only the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has a professorship dedicated to the study of African languages. In Norway and Denmark, African languages are studied mostly in departments of general linguistics. In Finland, the professorship at the University of Helsinki is defined as African studies, covering a wider research field.
Translated title of the contributionАфриканская лингвистика в Центральной и Восточной Европе и скандинавских странах
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA hystory of African Linguistics
EditorsEkkehard Wolf
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781108417976
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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    Kießling, R., Pawlak, N., Zheltov, A., & Hurskainen, A. (2019). African linguistics in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Nordic countries. In E. Wolf (Ed.), A hystory of African Linguistics (pp. 46-72). Cambridge University Press.