“Indigenous African Languages and Decolonisation: Revitalising African ways of knowing in a digital age”

The African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA) in collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of African Languages of the University of the Free State will be hosting the 21st BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AFRICAN LANGUAGES ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.

DATE: 8-10 July 2019

VENUE: University of the Free State, 205 Nelson Mandela Drive, Park West, Bloemfontein, 9301, SOUTH AFRICA

CONFERENCE THEME: Indigenous African Languages and Decolonisation: Revitalising African ways of knowing in a digital age

Proposals for paper presentations, workshops, interactive sessions, posters/exhibitions are invited to the 21st BIENNIAL ALASA International Conference “Indigenous African Languages and Decolonisation: Revitalising African ways of knowing in a digital age”.


Submission of abstracts and workshop proposals extended to: 31 March 2019

Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 16 April 2019


Abstracts of 150 to 200 words for paper presentations, and 250 to 400 words for workshop presentations, should be submitted by email as an MS Word file accompanied by the following information:

  • Full title of the paper
  • Title, full names and surname
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Email address (if paper has multiple authors, please state name of corresponding author)
  • Telephone (cell/mobile or office); Fax Number; Postal address and postal code

Abstracts must be submitted in English

No references, tables, or graphics should be included in the abstract

When using abbreviations within the body of the abstract, please spell out the name in full at first mention and follow with the abbreviation in parenthesis.

It is the responsibility of the author to ensure abstract text does not contain any typos or grammatical errors.

Paper presentations will be confined to 20 minutes plus a 10-minute question/discussion session.

Workshops will be 60 minutes in duration and should have a minimum of two authors. Only three workshops will be accepted.

No changes can be made after the abstract deadline has passed.

All abstracts will be adjudicated.

* A workshop is an opportunity for a group of interested delegates to be engaged in intensive discussion and activity on a topic and innovative research on any area relating to the Conference theme.

Submission of paper and workshop abstracts should be submitted to this website link:



Early-bird registrations R3 100 (R2800 + R300 membership fee; ALASA members only)*

Late registration R3 300 (R3000 + R300 membership fee; ALASA members only)

*Student registration: R2 100 (R1800 + R300 membership fee)
(Please provide us with proof of registration that you are a student)

No refunds but you are most welcome to send a substitute at no extra cost.

If membership for 2019 has already been paid, please send proof of payment or letter or receipts from the Organisations.


General and Registration:

Dr Elias Nyefolo Malete: maleteen@ufs.ac.za
Hannetjie Du Toit
E: dutoitjc@ufs.ac.za
T: +27 51 401 2256


Indigenous African Languages and Decolonisation: Revitalising African ways of knowing in a digital age

The above title will embrace contributions from a wide spectrum of research on African languages and cultures, from a historical perspective (reflections on what has been achieved so thus far towards the development of African languages and cultures) and future prospects (projections on how current research can impact on future developments), especially with regard to issues relating to decolonization, and digitalization.

Sub-themes include but are not confined to the following areas:


  • African literature and poverty alleviation
  • Literature in African languages
  • Colonial and postcolonial literature in Africa
  • Literary theories

Translation, Terminology and lexicography

  • African languages and translation
  • African languages and lexicography
  • Terminology development
  • Language research and documentation
  • Artificial intelligence and translation
  • Language editing techniques and African Languages

Language policy and planning

  • Language and education
  • African languages and policies in Africa
  • Linguistic imperialism
  • African languages for specific purposes

Language in society

  • Language and the media
  • Language, gender and identity
  • Language, culture and identity
  • Language contact and change, e.g. multilingualism, globalisation
  • Language and politics
  • Language and transformation

Language and decolonisation

  • The role of African languages in the discourses on decolonisation

Language and technology

  • The use of technology in the teaching of African languages
  • Human Language Technology (HLT), Digital Humanities and African language research
  • HLT and African language dictionaries
  • African languages in social media

Theoretical linguistics

  • Morphology
  • Phonology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Discourse analysis
  • Pragmatics Historical/comparative linguistics

The 21st BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AFRICAN LANGUAGES ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA will be held at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. It will address a range of critically important themes in the various fields of linguistics, applied linguistics and sociolinguistics.

The Conference is held in the year declared by UNESCO as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and therefore challenges the delegates to reflect on critical topical issues facing indigenous languages in the digital age.

Plenary sessions will include presentations by some of the world’s leading thinkers in the humanities, as well as numerous paper and workshop presentations.

The purpose of the conference is to attract scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplines and to bring together a cohort of established and emerging researchers in one assembly to deliberate on topics related to the theme and sub-themes.


Day 1: Registration: Conference programme: Presentations of papers: Evening Reception

Day 2: Conference programme: Presentations of papers, workshops, GALA dinner

Day 3: Conference programme: Presentations of papers and DEPARTURE.

A detailed programme will be announced once it has been finalised.


Delegates will be requested to fill in electronic registration forms after acceptance of their abstracts. An invoice will be created and send to individual delegates with personal details, registration amount and banking details. It is only after this process that delegates will be able to deposit registration fee into the university account.

The conference organisers will handle no cash on the registration day.


All costs (travel, accommodation, subsistence) related to your participation in the conference must be covered by the participant or your institution, regardless of the proposal acceptance. ALASA and its conference organisers are not liable and hold no responsibility for any of these costs.


  1. Conference Chairperson: Dr Elias Nyefolo Malete
  2. Conference Administrator: Hannetjie Du Toit

Submission and Registration procedures appears on this University of the Free State website link.

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