Anthropological Linguistics / Linguistic Anthropology


* Dr. Svenja Völkel (Linguistics/Language typology) – Spokesperson

* Prof. Dr. Nico Nassenstein (African Language and Linguistics) – Spokesperson

* Jun.-Prof. Dr. Franziska Fay (Social anthropology) – Spokesperson

* Dr. Andrea Hollington (African Studies)

* PhD candidate: Artemis Saleh [e-mail:]

* International co-operation partners (institutional links, research collaborations)


Fields of study:

This working group provides an active forum for research in the interdisciplinary field of ‘Anthropological Linguistics’. It brings together international scholars of linguistics and social and cultural anthropology with a particular interest in the interplay of language and culture. It centers research on vernacular and contextualized linguistic practices and the potential impact of cultural specificities on cross-linguistic diversity and variation. By bringing into dialogue ethnographic and linguistic approaches we aim to enhance existing knowledge on language and language use in diverse cultural contexts and its scope of variation. Ultimately, this variation deepens understandings of its internal dynamics (e.g., factors of language and culture change) and contact phenomena (e.g., so-called hotspots in intercultural communication, language ideologies in multilingual contexts, and language death and the loss of cultural knowledge) in an increasingly global setting.

The working group intends to establish an anthropological-linguistic research focus at JGU Mainz, to foster conversation between scholars working with different approaches, to initiate new research collaborations, to inspire young scholars from Mainz for this interdisciplinary field, and to make ‘Anthropological Linguistics’ more prominent. Among other activities, we plan to organize international workshops on different core topics of ‘Anthropological Linguistics’ (such as kinship, emotion, taboo, greetings, or youth language) with the opportunity to publish the workshop results, e.g., in the Mouton de Gruyter book series ‘Anthropological Linguistics’ (edited by Völkel & Nassenstein).



Internationaler Workshop on „Reconfiguring Language Preservation and Protecting Language-Related Social Practices and Spaces", held on December 1, 2023 at the University of Mainz (JGU)


International workshop on „Diversity in Language and Culture: KINSHIP“ held on the 7.-9. October 2021 at the University of Mainz (in collaboration with SoCuM Working Group 4)


hybrid Workshop 'Diversity in language and culture: KINSHIP' in October 2021