BaSIS conference

In celebration of the conclusion of the Bantu Syntax and Information Structure project, there will be a 2-day conference organised in Leiden on 8 and 9 June 2023 in hybrid (physical + online) format.

Below you will find information on registration, the programme, the venue and practical information. For further questions, please contact the organisers via  

The conference, like the project, is about the influence of information structure on Bantu morphosyntax, including the following questions:

  • How is information structure expressed in Bantu languages?
  • Where is information structure in the grammar?
  • Formal analyses of Bantu syntax/information structure
  • Field methods for the investigation of syntax and information structure
  • The interaction between information structure and prosody
  • Comparative aspects of information structure between Bantu and other languages
  • The status (and revision?) of notions in information structure

Conference program

You can download the program here. Below you will find the program including links to the abstracts.

Please, register using this form (for both in person and online participation) before 28 May 2023.

Day 1: Thursday, 8th June

09.00 – 09.30Welcome tea/coffee & Introduction
09.30 – 11.00Bantu word order between discourse and syntactic relations
Elisabeth J. Kerr, Allen Asiimwe, Patrick Kanampiu, Zhen Li, Ernest Nshemezimana, Jenneke van der Wal (BaSIS)

IAV effects in Southern Bantu
Hlumela Mkabile (UFS) & Kristina Riedel (UFS)

Disjoint/conjoint alternation and the focus position in Xichangana
Fábio Bonfim Duarte (PG-UFMG) & David Seth Langa (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane)
11.00 – 11.30Break
11.30 – 12.30Functional properties of the particle -o in eastern Bantu languages
Patrick Kanampiu, Allen Asiimwe, Amani Lusekelo, Ernest Nshemezimana, Jenneke van der Wal (BaSIS)

Morphology and information structure in the comparative analysis of additive focus marking
Hannah Gibson (University of Essex) & Lutz Marten (SOAS University of London)
12.30 – 14.00Lunch
14.00 – 15.30Focus fronting in all-new utterances: Syntax-information structure mismatching?
Paul Roger Bassong & Edmond Ossoko (University of Yaounde 1)

No FAT and not a LOT: Verum focus in Nguni
Jochen Zeller (University of KwaZulu-Natal) & Eva-Marie Bloom Ström (University of Gothenburg)

The structure of clausal exclamatives in Kirundi
Willie Myers (McGill University)
15.30 – 16.00Break
16.00 – 17.30Predicate focus in embedded clauses in Kisubi
John Gluckman (University of Kansas) & Cyprian Vumilia (St. Augustine University of Tanzania)

Predicate doubling and information structure in eastern Bantu languages
Amani Lusekelo, Allen Asiimwe, Patrick Kanampiu, Nelsa Nhantumbo, Ernest Nshemezimana, Jenneke van der Wal (BaSIS)

19.00 – 22.00Conference Dinner

Day 2: Friday, 9th June

09.00 – 10.00Plenary: *Title TBA*
Michael Diercks (Pomona College)
10.00 – 11.00Information structure and syntax in Teke
Zhen Li (BaSIS)

Expressing information structure in Laali Syntax
Robson Perrin Mberi Ngakala (Marien Ngouabi University)
11.00 – 11.30Break
11.30 – 12.30The (non-)influence of information structure on Tunen syntax
Elisabeth J. Kerr (BaSIS)

Licensing of information structure in Kenyang
Florence Tabe Oben (University of Yaounde I)
12.30 – 14.00Lunch
14.00 – 15.30From focus marker to default declarative marker: The unexpected evolution of the copula *nɩ in Kilimanjaro Bantu
Gérard Philippson (INALCO, DDL Lyon) & Rozenn Guérois (CNRS LLACAN)

Kirundi focus-fronting and non-verbal predication
Terrance Gatchalian (McGill University)

Strategies for exhaustive focus marking in Hehe
Simon Msovela (University of Gothenburg)
15.30 – 16.00Break
16.00 – 17.30The applicative and the focalization of event location in Rundi (Bantu JD62)
Manoah-Joël Misago† (deceased), Ernest Nshemezimana (University of Burundi), Koen Bostoen (Ghent University) & Sara Pacchiarotti (Ghent University)

Two analyses of eastern Bantu reverse pseudoclefts
Ernest Nshemezimana, Allen Asiimwe, Patrick Kanampiu, Amani Lusekelo, Nelsa Nhantumbo, Jenneke van der Wal (BaSIS)

Discussion & Closing



The conference will take place in one of Leiden University buildings:

Practical information regarding your visit to Leiden can be found here.

For further information, please contact Jenneke van der Wal at

We look forward to seeing you in Leiden/online!

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