Comparing rural multilingualism in lowland south America and western Africa

Friederike Lüpke, Kristine Stenzel, Flora Dias Cabalzar, Thiago Chacon, Aline Da Cruz, Bruna Franchetto, Antonio Guerreiro, Sérgio Meira, Glauber Romling Da Silva, Wilson Silva, Luciana Storto, Leonor Valentino, Hein Van Der Voort, Rachel Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article explores and compares multilingualism in small-scale societies of Western Africa and Lowland South America. All are characterized by complex and extensive multilingual practices and regional exchange systems established before the onset of globalization and its varying impacts. Through overviews of the general historical and organizational features of regions, vignette case studies, and a discussion of transformative processes affecting them, we show that small-scale multilingual societies present challenges to existing theorization of language as well as approaches to language description and documentation. We aim to bring these societies and issues to the fore, promoting discussion among a broader audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-57
Number of pages55
JournalAnthropological Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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