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Welcome to Nilotic@Edinburgh!

We are a group of researchers (from undergraduates to professors emeriti) at the University of Edinburgh who study various aspects of the Nilotic languages. Many of our current projects concern the grammar and phonology/phonetics of several closely-related West Nilotic languages, but we also pursue the implications of our linguistic work for related fields, including literacy, cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, and music.

The West Nilotic languages are spoken in an area ranging from southwestern Kenya, north through northern Uganda and northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, to South Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia. Several of these languages have unusually rich prosodic systems; they distinguish words and word forms from one another by means of vowel length, lexical tone, and voice quality. The researchers within our group currently study Dinka, Nuer, Reel, and Shilluk, West Nilotic languages that exhibit these phenomena.

Poster courtesy of Sammy Katta, edited by Mirella Blum. Poster reads: “In this research group, we believe: science is real (microscope image), love is love (rainbow anatomical heart), Black Lives Matter (brown raised fist), feminism is for everyone (female symbol), language is cool (picture of speech waveform), immigrants are welcome (Statue of Liberty).”

In displaying this poster, we commit to the pledge found here, which includes, at a minimum:

“Educating yourself about racial justice and systemic discrimination against marginalized communities.

Listening to and uplifting voices from these communities even when they challenge your assumptions and make you uncomfortable.

Speaking out and pushing for change when you see microaggressions or institutional policies that disadvantage these communities, both within your lab and within the larger campus community (from staff and low-wage workers to students and faculty).

Making space and time for trainees to heal, take care of their communities, or fight for justice, and continuing to provide financial, career, and other support while they do so (if you think this is not possible at your institution, see the point above).

Donating, when you have the means, to organizations that promote the success and well-being of marginalized communities in STEM or in the larger community.”

Please click here to read the full pledge, to commit to these actions yourself, or to download a poster. 


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