SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Heather Ayn Todd


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Heather Ayn Todd
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Thesis title:
Ethnobiological inventories of a multilingual community in Cameroon
Internal Supervisors


Heather has a BA in Linguistics and an MSc in Ethnobotany. Her master’s research examined the relationship of language loss and ethnobotanical knowledge by focusing Wawa, an endangered language spoken in rural Cameroon. She assessed whether factors that drive the loss of language also influence ethnobotanical knowledge and found that ethnobotanical knowledge is not necessarily lost when speakers shift to another local, non-European language.

PhD Research

Heather’s main interests are in linguistic anthropology, semantics, sociolinguistics, and the interconnections of language and traditional ecological knowledge. Her PhD research involves examining the interrelatedness of language and ethnobotanical knowledge through a comparative lexical and semantic analysis of the ways plant knowledge is encoded in a selected group of related and unrelated languages near Banyo, Cameroon, while also focusing on several endangered languages of the area.