Fiona Mc Laughlin works on the phonology and morphology of the Atlantic languages as well as on the sociolinguistics of multilingualism and language contact in urban West Africa.
From a formal perspective her interests include consonant mutation and its interaction with other phonological processes such as reduplication and loanword adaptation; noun classification; and Fula prosody across dialects.
Her sociolinguistic interests center on the ways in which the outcomes of language contact are modulated by societal considerations such as urbanization, Islamization, and (colonial and postcolonial) power relationships between speakers of various languages. She is particularly interested in urban vernaculars and in the sociolinguistics of writing. Much of Mc Laughlin’s work in these areas can be viewed on her publications page.
Her research is based on extensive fieldwork in West Africa and has been funded by fellowships and grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright, and the National Science Foundation, as well as by several UF internal grants. In the fall of 2017 she was a Fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. Mc Laughlin is a former Director of the West Africa Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, and she has taught at the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger and at the Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Recent and upcoming talks:
“Urban language in urban theory: Dakar Wolof as infrastructure.” To be presented at the Sawyer Seminar, “Claiming the City: Urban Citizenship, Hybrid Cultures, and Governance in the Modern Era.” University of California San Diego. March 15, 2019.
“The sociolinguistics of everyday ajami writing in Senegal.” Ninth World Conference of Africanist Linguistics (WOCAL 9). Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco. August 24-28, 2018.
“Vers une histoire sociolinguistique du wolof urbain.” West Africa Research Center. Dakar, Senegal. May 22, 2018. See (mostly accurate…) coverage of this talk in Le Soleil newspaper.
“La sociolinguistique de l’écrit dans le trans-Sahara.” Centre de Recherche en Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle (CRASC) and Centre d’Études Maghrébines en Algérie (CEMA). Oran, Algeria. April 25, 2018. Listen to this talk (in French) on the Maghrib Podcast.