Encyclopaedia of Literatures in African Languages

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Baumgardt, Ursula 
Lorin, Marie 

The Encyclopaedia of Literature in African Languages (ELLAf) project focuses on oral and written literature in African languages. The project proposes the creation of a website presenting and analysing literary texts in African languages, in order to make a wide range of these written or oral texts, in Sub-Saharan African and Malagasy languages, available to enthusiasts, students and specialists from around the world. The project aims to build up a research database based on literary works produced in their original languages, translated into French and/or English and presented in their linguistic, social and cultural contexts. This paper considers the relevance of ELLAf’s technical and archival structure to its impact on improving widespread knowledge of literatures in African languages.


Ursula Baumgardt is Professor of Orality and African Literature at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisation Orientales (INALCO) in Paris. She is also a member of the CNRS council UMR 8135 Langage, Langues et Cultures d’Afrique Noire (LLACAN). Baumgardt holds a Phd in African francophone literature and studied Haussa and Fulani at INALCO. She completed her fieldwork in Northern Cameroon, focusing on Fulani Tales. Her Phd on the repository of a Fulani storyteller was published in 2000 (Une conteuse peule et son répertoire, Goggo Addi de Garoua, Cameroun, Paris: Karthala). Her publications include Littératures orales africaines. Perspectives théoriques et méthodologiques (with Jean Derive) and L’expression de l’espace dans les langues africaines I et II (with Paulette Roulon-Doko).

Marie Lorin is a Phd student in African Literatures at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris and Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal. Based on many fieldwork seasons in Senegal, specifically in Foûta Tôro (North Senegal), her Phd dissertation focuses on Fulani myths collected around the Senegal River, combining literary and anthropological approaches. Lorin holds a special interest in the part that new media play in the transmission of African oral literatures. She is a founder member and the current webmaster of ELLAf’s website.

oral literature, Africa, oral tradition, documentation, anthropology
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World Oral Literature Project
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