All for Joomla All for Webmasters


A warm welcome to the website of ICL 20, the 20th International Congress of Linguists. The congress is to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018. The hosts are CIPL (Comité International Permanent des Linguistes), the LSSA (Linguistics Society of Southern Africa) and UCT (the University of Cape Town). Our partner organisations are given below. Please follow the links to find out more about these dynamic organisations.

The Congress is held every five years, and is meant to showcase current developments in Linguistics. The Congress will run over five days, have a plenary panel on linguistics in South Africa, nine plenary speakers covering a range of major sub-fields, 10 paper sessions each with its own focus speaker, up to 30 workshops, and several poster sessions. While speakers and topics are drawn from a wide international pool, ICL 20 will take the additional opportunity of showcasing African language research. It will also cover applied linguistic areas of research of vital importance to the African continent and the 21st century at large, with a special extended session on Multilingualism, Education, Policy and Development.

Please take a look at the pages on our Scientific Committee, our invited plenary speakers, session topics and call for workshop proposals and abstracts. If you haven’t visited Cape Town before, please also have a look at some of the images of a beautiful and diverse city. We look forward to welcoming you at the tip of Africa in July 2018.

Prof. Rajend Mesthrie

President ICL 20.
June 2016.

In conjunction with Prof. D. Bradley. President CIPL

Hosts & Supporting/Partner Associations


Comité International Permanent des Linguistes / Permanent International Committee of Linguists

Linguistics Society of Southern Africa

Southern African Applied Linguistics Association

uct logo
University of Cape Town
African Language Association of Southern Africa

South African Association for ​Language Teaching


Registration NOW OPEN!
27 June 2018 Online Registration Closes


Water situation in Cape Town
Download Info


2 - 6 July 2018


Prof. Al Mtenje (University of Malawi)

The question of how much morphology can account for surface phonological alternations, including tone, has been a subject of debate in the linguistics literature for a long time (cf. Nurse 2008, Odden, to appear). In some Bantu languages, especially in tensed constructions, a wide range of tonal patterns appear to be associated with specific tenses. A number of theoretical approaches have been advanced to account for this phenomenon, ranging from those which attribute these alternations to phonological factors to those that recognize the role of morphology as a determining element of the phonological variations (cf. Kanerva 1990, Hyman & Mtenje 1999, Mtenje A.D. 1986, Odden, to appear, Odden & Bickmore 2014).

This paper considers tonal realizations from the Bantu languages Chichewa, Ciyawo and the dialect cluster of Cisukwa, Cindali and Cilambya (referred to as SuNdaLa by Mtenje, A.A. 2016) which appear to be influenced by specific morphological environments and argues that a purely phonological account does not provide a coherent account of the phenomena. It is proposed that reference to morphological categorization is the most appropriate alternative.

Hyman, Larry M. & Al Mtenje. 1999b. Prosodic Morphology and tone: the case of Chichewa. In: René Kager, Harry van der Hulst and Wim Zonneveld, (eds.). The Prosody-Morphology Interface. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 90-133. Kanerva, Jonni. 1990. Focus and Phrasing in Chicheŵa Phonology. New York: Garland Publishing.
Mtenje, A. A. 2016. A comparative analysis of the Phonology and Morpho-syntax of Cisukwa, Cindali and Cilambya. PhD Dissertation. University of Cape Town.
Mtenje, A.D, 1986. Issues in the Non-linear Phonology of Chichewa. PhD Dissertation. University of London.
Nurse, Derek. 2008. Tense and Aspect in Bantu. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Odden, David. (to appear). Bantu Phonology. Oxford Linguistics Handbooks online. Odden, David & Lee Bickmore. 2014. Melodic tone in Bantu: Overview. Africana Linguistica XX, 3-13.

Go to top