Michael R. Marlo

Assistant Professor

Department of English

University of Missouri



Recent Highlights

CV [19 September 2014]


My main research activity is the grammatical description of understudied languages. I have broad interests in African linguistics and Bantu languages. Much of my work to date has focused on the tonal systems of varieties of the Luyia macrolanguage of western Kenya and eastern Uganda. I have also conducted significant research on other languages, including Bakweri and Igala, and I have carried out a series of large-scale micro-typological studies of object marking in Bantu. My research on Luyia languages involves on-going collaborations with Vicki Carstens, Michael Diercks, Kristopher Ebarb, Christopher Green, David Odden, Mary Paster, Peter Otiato Ojiambo, and others. Our team was awarded an NSF grant in 2014.  


At the University of Missouri, I regularly offer the courses Phonology, Syntax, Field Methods in Linguistics, and Structure of American English. I developed a course Languages of Africa, which I taught for the first time in Fall 2013. I have also offered various introductory undergraduate courses in linguistics, an advanced graduate course in phonological theory (Winter 2008), and graduate seminars on (Bantu) tone (Spring 2008, Fall 2008).

Our 2014 Field Methods course studied the Igala language of Nigeria. We worked with Christopher Adejo, a graduate of the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. In 2012, we studied the Kenyan Bantu language Tiriki with Billystrom Jivetti, a University of Missouri Ph.D. student in Rural Sociology, who is now an assistant professor at Wiley College. 

Presentations / Publications

On the number of object markers in Bantu languages. to appear. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. [email me]

Problems in Kuria H Tone Assignment. 2015. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 33. 251-265. [with Leonard Chacha Mwita and Mary Paster, pre-publication draft]

Exceptional patterns of object marking in Bantu. 2014. Studies in African Linguistics 43. 85-123.

Luyia tone melodies. with Kristopher Ebarb & Christopher Green. 2014. Africana Linguistica XX. 121-143.

Kuria tone melodies. with Chacha Mwita & Mary Paster. 2014. Africana Linguistica XX. 277-294.

Bakweri tone melodies. with David Odden. 2014. Africana Linguistica XX. 295-312.

Collaborative research in African linguistics at MizzouNoel P. Gist Brown Bag Seminar Series, University of Missouri International Center. October 2, 2014.

Verb tone in Bantu languagesmicro-typological patterns and research methods. 2013. AfricanaLinguistica XIX. 137-234.

Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics. 2013. Cascadilla Proceedings Project, ed. with Nikki Adams, Christopher Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan Purvis.

Tonal melodies and Meeussen’s Rule in Khayo. 2013. In Karsten Legère (ed.), Studies in Bantu Linguistics and Languages: Papers in memory of Professor Rugatiri Mekacha, Bayreuth: Bayreuth African Studies [04 October 2011].

Review of Van Otterloo (2011) The Kifuliiru Language, Vol. 1. 2012. Linguistlist. [17 October 2012]

Non-spurious H-toned extensions in Nyala-West, with Kristopher Ebarb. Paper presented at ACAL 41, University of Toronto and University of York, May 6-8, 2010.
Conditioning factors in the realization of tone: Nyala-West verbs, with Kristopher Ebarb, in Samuel Obeng, Jon Anderson, &Chris Green, eds., Indiana University Working Papers in Linguistics 8: African Linguistics Across the Discipline, 85-107. [19 January 2010].
Luyia tonal dialectology. 2009. Paper presented at University of Nairobi, Department of Linguistics and Languages, Nairobi, Kenya, 16 December.
Khayo verbal tonology. 2009. Africana Linguistica 15. 77-129. Appendix [02 November 2009].

Tura verbal tonology. 2008. Studies in African Linguistics 37.2. 153-243 [02 November 2009].

Bantu tone bibliography [26 November 2008].

As noted on the Luyia Dictionary Project site, we have begun editing individual Luyia dictionaries through online collaboration using the WeSay software. Please contact me if you are interested in assisting in any of the work. Some older materials are below [11 August 2011]:

Lightly edited comparative wordlist of Kisa, Tsotso, Appleby 1943, and Wanga [24 January 2010].

Unedited comparative wordlist of Idakho, Appleby 1943, and Wanga [24 January 2010].

Unedited comparative wordlist of Tura, Appleby 1943, and Wanga [24 January 2010].

Ndanyi & Ndanyi's 2005 monolingual Logoori dictionary Amang'ana go Lulimi lwo Lulogooli (part1, part2, part3, part4, part5) [02 November 2009].

L.L. Appleby’s 1943 Luluhya-English Vocabulary and the Friends Africa Mission Press 1940 Luragoli-English Vocabulary [10 March 2009].

Bukusu and Wanga dictionary materials [01 September 2008].

Handwritten materials on Idakho (x2), Isukha, Kabarasi, Khayo (x2), Kisa, Logoori (x2), Nyala-West, Nyore, Saamia, Tachoni, Tiriki (x2), Tsotso, and Tura [available here: Luyia Dictionary Project, 08 December 2008]. 

Khalaba, Kenya, July 2006

Mandovu in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, September 2006

Boda boda driver hauling egunia across the Kenya-Uganda border. Busia, Kenya, July 2006, Photo by Moses Egesa

Circumcision candidate near Bungoma, Kenya, August 2006