SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professor Friederike Lüpke

MA (Köln), PhD (Nijmegen)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Friederike Lüpke
African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professorial Research Associate

Professor Friederike Lüpke
Email address:
Curriculum Vitae:
Friederike Lüpke's Curriculum Vitae (pdf; 770kb)


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. Details on the current project, Crossroads, can be found here

Inaugural Lecture

Loading the player...

Prof Friederike Lüpke Inaugural Lecture: Language Diversity, African Style


PhD Students supervised
  • Heather Ayn Todd, Ethnobiological inventories of a multilingual community in Cameroon


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.


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

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.


Lüpke, Friederike (2017) 'African(ist) perspectives on vitality: fluidity, small speaker numbers and adaptive multilingualism make vibrant ecologies'. Language, (93) 4, pp e275-e279.

Montero-Melis, Guillermo and Eisenbeiss, Sonja and Narasimhan, Bhuvana and Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide and Kita, Sotaro and Kopecka, Anetta and Lüpke, Friederike and Nikitina, Tatiana and Tragel, Ilona and Jaeger, T. Florian and Bohnemeyer, Juergen (2017) 'Satellite- vs. verb-framing underpredicts nonverbal motion categorization: Insights from a large language sample and simulations'. Cognitive Semantics, (3) 1, pp 36-61.

Lüpke, Friederike (2016) 'Uncovering Small-Scale Multilingualism'. Critical Multilingualism Studies, (4) 2, pp 35-74.

Lüpke, Friederike (2016) 'Pure fiction – the interplay of indexical and essentialist language ideologies and heterogeneous practices: A view from Agnack'. Language Documentation & Conservation, (10), pp 8-39.

Lüpke, Friederike (2015) 'Denorthernising multilingualism and multilingualism research framing language in the north'. VOICES from around the world, special issue on multilingualism in the Global South 3.

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

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 (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.

Edited Books or Journals

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). Leiden: Brill.

Book Chapters

Lüpke, Friederike (2020) 'Atlantic'. In: Vossen, Rainer and Dimmendaal, Gerrit J., (eds.), The Oxford handbook of African languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lüpke, Friederike (2019) 'Language endangerment and language documentation in Africa'. In: Wolff, H. Ekkehard, (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lüpke, Friederike (2018) 'Supporting vital repertoires, not revitalizing languages'. In: Hinton, Leanne and Huss, Leena and Roche, Gerald, (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 475-485.

Lüpke, Friederike (2018) 'Multiple choice: Language use and cultural practice in rural Casamance between convergence and divergence'. In: Knörr, Jaqueline and Trajano Filho, Wilson, (eds.), Creolization and Pidginization in Contexts of Postcolonial Diversity: Language, Culture, Identity. Leiden: Brill, pp 181-208.

Lüpke, Friederike (2018) 'Escaping the tyranny of writing. West African regimes of writing as a model for multilingual literacy'. In: Juffermans, Kasper and Weth, Constanze, (eds.), The tyranny of writing revisited: Ideologies of the written word. London: Bloomsbury, pp 129-148.

Cobbinah, Alexander and Hantgan, Abbie and Lüpke, Friederike and Watson, Rachel (2016) 'Carrefour des langues, carrefour des paradigmes'. In: Auzeanneau, Michelle, (ed.), Espaces, mobilités et éducation plurilingues : éclairages d'Afrique ou d'ailleurs. Paris: Édition des Archives Contemporaines, pp 79-97.

Lüpke, Friederike (2015) 'Ideologies and typologies of language endangerment in Africa'. In: Essegbey, James and Henderson, Brent and Mc Laughlin, Fiona, (eds.), Language documentation and endangerment in Africa. Amsterdam; Phildelphia: John Benjamins, pp 59-105.

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 (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.

Cobbinah, Alexander and Lüpke, Friederike (2012) 'Not cut to fit - zero-coded passives in African languages'. In: Brenzinger, Matthias and Fehn, Anne-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.

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, Philip J. 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: Brown, Keith, (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Languages and Linguistics. Oxford: Elsevier, pp 170-171.

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. [Unpublished]


This list was last generated on Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 08:01 Europe/London.