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Department of Linguistics

Professor Friederike Lüpke

MA (Köln), PhD (Nijmegen)


Friederike Lüpke
Department of Linguistics

Professor of Language Documentation and Description

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


Crossroads - Investigating the unexplored side of multilingualism

Project Leader

Professor Friederike Lüpke
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4581
21/22 Russell Square
Office No:
Office Hours:
By pre-arranged appointment
Curriculum Vitae:
Friederike Lüpke's Curriculum Vitae (pdf; 90kb)


Friederike Lüpke studied General and African Linguistics at the University of Cologne and at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris. For her PhD dissertation project at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, she conducted extensive fieldwork on Jalonke, an endangered variety of Yalunka spoken in Guinea. She came to SOAS in 2003 as a PostDoctoral Fellow. Currently, she is working on the Baïnounk language cluster in Senegal.

Inaugural Lecture

Prof Friederike Lüpke Inaugural Lecture: Language Diversity, African Style


PhD Students supervised
  • Miriam Weidl, "Loo wax!?" [What did you say!?] Multilingualism in Senegal - about the break(up) and the dynamicity of linguistic ‘systems’.
  • Charlotte Hemmings, The Kelabit Language, Austronesian Voice and Syntactic Theory
  • Chesea Krajcik, A window into the multilingual mind: exploring deictic gestures and spatial language in Casamance, Senegal
  • Estrella Sendra Fernandez, ‘Two-tier festivals in Senegal between the local and the international: A case study of the Festival of Folklore and Percussion (FESFOP) in Louga, Senegal’.
  • Golden Ekpo, The functions of mono- and multilingual language modes in Oro
  • Heather Ayn Todd, A cross-linguistic areal comparison of the semantics of ethnobotanical knowledge in Cameroon
  • Samantha Goodchild, The role of gender in the maintenance of multilingual repertoires at the ‘linguistic crossroads’ of Brin, Djibonker and Mov Avvi, Casamance, Senegal.
  • Teresa Poeta, Object marking in Makhuwa and Swahili discourse

Friederike Lüpke is currently on research leave and is not teaching.


Friederike Lüpke’s research interests include verbal argument structure, Atlantic and Mande linguistics, with a focus on syntactic and semantic typology, individual and societal multilingualism, the influence of cognition, culture and contact on language, and the use of non-Roman scripts for the writing of West African languages. 

Pots, Plants, and People

She led an interdisciplinary documentation project on Baïnounk  languages of Senegal, the DoBeS-funded project ‘Pots, plants, and people – a documentation of Baïnounk knowledge systems’. Other longstanding interests lie in data collection methods for language documentation and in linking sociolinguistics to language documentation in order to gain a better understanding of situations of language endangerment and language vitality, and to be able to build representative corpora of language use. These interests find expression in new collaborative research she is leading from 2014 to 2018, in the Leverhulme Research Leadership award project ‘Crossroads - investigating the unexplored side of multilingualism’.

Crossroads - investigating the unexplored side of multilingualism

Prof. Friederike Lüpke is the primary investigator of the Crossroads project. Her research interests span the linguistic structure of Mande and Atlantic languages of West Africa, with a particular focus on nominal and verbal classification systems, and multilingualism and language contact in all their facets. Her recent research in this domain has investigated multilingualism as an individual and societal practice; the division of labour of spoken and written codes in multilingual repertoires; and the relationships between ideologies and language use in multilingual contexts. Currently, she is particularly interested in developing a better understanding of small-scale multilingual settings across the globe. This research topic also includes the development of methodologies to investigate complex linguistic ecologies rather than studying a single language in field settings.

Within the Crossroads project Friederike oversees the research activities of the entire team while continuing her research in Agnack. This research started out as research on the Baïnounk language Gujaher spoken there but has now been widened to aim at analysing the multilingual configuration of Agnack, where Gujaher is only one of the named languages used in a complex setting. Gujaher is spoken in a different contact setting than the languages Baïnunk Gubëeher, Joola Banjal and Joola Kujireray spoken at the “Crossroads”. Therefore, it serves as a control language to delineate what is specific for the “Crossroads” settings in terms of linguistic convergences. At the same time, her research focus includes the study of the social motivations creating this particular language ecology, also with the comparative goal of understanding what is shared with other settings in the wider area and what is typical for this locally confined ecology.


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise
  • Guinea
  • Mali
  • Senegal
  • German


Authored Books

Lüpke, Friederike and Storch, Anne (2013) Repertoires and choices in African languages. Boston; Berlin: de Gruyter. (Language Contact and Bilingualism)

Edited Books or Journal Volumes

Lüpke, Friederike and Chambers, Mary, eds. (2010) Journal of Language Contact. THEMA Series, Number 3. (Multilingualism and language contact in West Africa: towards a holistic perspective). Brill.

Book Chapters

Cobbinah, Alexander and Lüpke, Friederike (2014) 'When number meets classification: the linguistic expression of number in Baïnounk languages.' In: Storch, Anne and Dimmendaal, Gerrit J., (eds.), Number - constructions and semantics. Case studies from Africa, Amazonia, India and Oceania. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 199-220.

Lüpke, Friederike and Bao-Diop, Sokhna (2014) 'Beneath the surface? Contemporary ajami writing in West Africa, exemplified through Wolofal.' In: Juffermans, Kasper and Asfaha, Yonas Mesfun and Abdelhay, Ashraf, (eds.), African literacies: ideologies, scripts, education. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, pp. 86-114.

Cobbinah, Alexander and Lüpke, Friederike (2012) 'Not cut to fit - zero-coded passives in African languages.' In: Brenzinger, Matthias and Fehn, Anna-Maria, (eds.), Proceeedings of the 6th World Congress in African Linguistics, Cologne 2009. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, pp. 153-165.

Lüpke, Friederike (2011) 'Orthography development.' In: Austin, Peter and Sallabank, Julia, (eds.), Handbook of endangered languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 312-336.

Lüpke, Friederike (2011) 'Data collection methods for field-based language documentation.' In: Austin, Peter K. and McGill, Stuart, (eds.), Endangered languages. London: Routledge. (Critical concepts in linguistics)

Luepke, Friederike (2009) 'Jalonke.' In: Dimmendaal, Gerrit J., (ed.), Coding participant marking. Construction types in twelve African languages. Amsterdam; Phildadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 173-214.

Jaggar, Phil and Luepke, Friederike (2008) 'North and West African languages.' In: Austin, Peter, (ed.), 1000 languages. The worldwide history of living and lost tongues. London: Thames & Hudson, pp. 60-85.

Lüpke, Friederike (2006) 'Guinea - language situation.' In: Encyclopaedia of Languages and Linguistics. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 170-171.


Lüpke, Friederike (2010) 'Language and identity in flux: in search of Baïnouk.' Journal of Language Contact, THEMA (3). pp. 155-174.

Lüpke, Friederike (2010) 'Multilingualism and language contact in West Africa: towards a holistic perspective.' Journal of Language Contact, THEMA (3). pp. 1-12.

Lüpke, Friederike (2010) 'Research methods in language documentation.' Language Documentation and Description, 7 . pp. 55-104.

Lüpke, Friederike (2010) 'Rare and endangered - languages or features? An African perspective.' Journal of West African Languages, XXXVII . pp. 119-139.

Lüpke, Friederike (2009) 'At the margin - African endangered languages in the context of global endangerment discourses.' African Research and Documentation (109). pp. 15-41.

Lüpke, Friederike (2009) 'Data collection methods for field-based language documentation.' Language Documentation and Description, 6 . pp. 53-100.

Lüpke, Friederike (2007) 'Smash it again, Sam! Verbs of Cutting and Breaking in Jalonke.' Cognitive Linguistics, 18 (2). pp. 251-61.

Bohnemeyer, Jürgen and Enfield, Nicholas J. and Essegbey, James and Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide and Kita, Sotaro and Lüpke, Friederike and Ameka, Felix K. (2007) 'Principles of event segmentation in language: the case of motion events.' Language, 83 (3). pp. 495-532.

Lüpke, Friederike (2007) 'It's a Split, but Is It Unaccusativity?: Two Classes of Intransitive Verbs in Jalonke.' Studies in Language, 31 (3). pp. 525-568.

Lüpke, Friederike (2007) 'On Giving, Receiving, Affecting and Benefitting in Jalonke.' Linguistics, 45 (3). pp. 539-76.

Lüpke, Friederike (2007) 'Vanishing Voice - the Morphologically Zero-Coded Passive of Jalonke.' Linguistische Berichte, 14 . pp. 173-90.

Lüpke, Friederike (2006) 'Small is beautiful - the contribution of small field-based corpora to different linguistic disciplines.' Language Documentation and Description, 3 . pp. 75-105.

Lüpke, Friederike (2004) 'Language planning in West Africa - who writes the script?' Language Documentation and Description, 2 . pp. 90-107.

Book Reviews

Lüpke, Friederike (2012) 'Voices of our genes? A review of Mark Pagel's book "Wired for culture".' Times Literary Supplement .


Lüpke, Friederike (2005) A grammar of Jalonke argument structure. PhD thesis. Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

This list was generated on Tue Oct 6 00:30:12 2015 BST.