Nairobi 11-13 December 2015

Hosted by Kenyatta University

First Call for Papers

call deadline 31-5-2015

African cities in the 21st century are host to rapidly changing linguistic practices, with complex causes and effects of variation.  Urban and Youth Languages have emerged in African cities to join the global repertoire of language resources and practices. The linguistic development, changing status, geographical and social diversification of these non-standard varieties are of interest to a broad range of researchers studying social and linguistic change. An inaugural conference on African Urban and Youth Languages was held in Cape Town on the 5th & 6th July 2013.  Following the success of that conference, a second was proposed for 2015, to bring together scholars from around the world in one of the locations where these youth languages is  prevalent – Nairobi, Kenya. The main objective is to provide a forum where this field of study can be further developed and theorized.

African Urban and Youth Language can be framed within the concept of translingual practice, wherein speakers draw on a range of multimodal resources including gestures, styles or registers, as well as a range of languages, to make meaning in complex linguistic contexts.


Scholars working in the field are invited to present papers relevant, but not limited to the following topical themes:

·         African youth languages, continued (Sheng, Camfranglais, Nouchi, Tsotsitaal, etc.)

·         Form and structure of urban and youth languages

·         Urban and youth languages, and contemporary culture and globalisation

·         Urban and youth languages and new media

·         Challenges of African youth languages in Education

·         Challenges of African youth languages in formulation of language policy

In addition, we welcome papers for the following proposed panel session on ‘The status, role and future of urban & youth language in education.’

Conference languages are English and French.

The deadline for sending abstracts is May 31st, 2015. Abstracts of a maximum of 500 words should be sent anonymously in .pdf, .rtf or .doc format, including full contact details in the body of the email message (full name of presenters, affiliation, email address, title of paper in language of presentation). Abstracts should be sent to the email address: . All abstracts will be peer-reviewed before acceptance.  Notification regarding acceptance or rejection of abstracts will be sent by email to the first author by the end of July 2015.

Contact Information:

Fridah Kanana Erastus

Email address for queries relating to the conference (not for abstract submissions):

Email address for abstract submissions:


Key note speakers

Prof Anne Storch

Prof Raj Mesthrie

Prof Okoth Okombo

Planned workshops:

·         Analysing gestures with ELAN

·         Writing an article for publication

Please note, the workshop calls will be finalised closer to the conference, and depend on available funding.

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