SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Farming, food and yam: language and cultural practices among Ikaan speakers

Sophie Salffner’s postdoctoral research focuses on Ikaan, a small language spoken in two villages in south-western Nigeria. On the linguistic side, the research looks into phonetic and phonological variation among speakers. The investigations are based on a documentary corpus of a documentation of language around, knowledge of, and practices in food, food production and farming, with a special focus on the New Yam Festival. The data for the corpus is collected by a linguist (Sophie Salffner), a visual anthropologist (Maria Tzika) and community members themselves. To make such community collaboration possible, two volunteers trained the secondary school children of the community in audio recording (Tunde Adegbola) and documentary photography (Asya Gefter). In addition, Sophie Salffner also trained the children in using computers.
In addition to academic outputs, the project produced two documentary films for the Ikakumo community and a touring exhibition of photographs taken by the children and language documentation material related to the photographs.

This research is funded by an Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Individual Postgraduate Fellowship (IPF0178) and runs fron October 2011 to September 2013.

Ikaan project eflyer (binary; 614kb)