Salikoko S. Mufwene

Salikoko S. Mufwene, Interim Faculty Director

Interim Faculty Director

Native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Salikoko S. Mufwene is the Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as Professor on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, on the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and on the Committee on African Studies. His current research is in evolutionary linguistics, which he approaches from an ecological perspective, focused on the phylogenetic emergence of language and on how languages have been affected by colonization and world-wide globalization, especially regarding the indigenization of European languages in the colonies and language birth and death. He brings into all this fresh African, Africanist, and creolist perspectives, having published a great deal in African and creole linguistics.

Mufwene has authored three books: The Ecology of Language Evolution (CUP, 2001), Créoles, écologie sociale, évolution linguistique (l’Harmattan, 2005), and Language Evolution: Contact, competition and change (Continuum Press, 2008). He is presently writing a book on Language Endangerment and Loss from an Ecological Perspective (commissioned by Springer), completing the co-editing (with Cécile B. Vigouroux) of Bridging Linguistics and Economics (to be published at CUP) and co-editing The Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact. He has (co-)edited several other books (including Complexity in Language: Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives, CUP, 2017) and authored over 300 articles, book chapters, and reviews on the above topics and others.

He is the founding editor of Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact. His distinctions include lectures at the Collège de France (Fall 2003), teaching at Harvard University (spring 2002) and four times at the Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America (1999, 2005, 2015, 2017), and recognition as a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (January 2018). He was also a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Lyon (2010-2011) and Director of the University of Chicago Center in Paris during the 2013-2014 academic year. He chaired the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago from July 1995 to June 2001.