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Ana Deumert (Head of Section)

Ana Deumert is Professor at the University of Cape Town. Her research program is located within the broad field of African sociolinguistics and has a strong transdisciplinary focus. She has worked on the history of Afrikaans (The Dynamics of Cape Dutch, 2004), co-authored Introducing Sociolinguistics (2009, with Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann and William Leap), the Dictionary of Sociolinguistics (2004, with Joan Swann, Rajend Mesthrie and Theresa Lillis), and published on mobile communication from a global perspective (Sociolinguistics and Mobile Communication, 2014). In addition, she is the editor of three collections: Germanic Standardizations – Past and Present (with Wim Vandenbussche, 2004), Structure and Variation in Language Contact (with Stephanie Durrleman-Tame, 2006), and The Sociolinguistics of Everyday Creativity (with Joan Swann, 2018, special issue of Language Sciences). Her current work explores the use of language in global political movements as well as the contributions decolonial thought can make to sociolinguistic theory. She is also co-editor of IMPACT – Studies in Language and Society (with Kristine Horner) and co-editor of Edinburgh Sociolinguistics (with Paul Kerswill). She is a recipient of the Neville Alexander Award for the Promotion of Multilingualism (2014) and the Humboldt Research Award (2016). She is also an NRF-rated scientist. In addition she is a regular columnist for diggit magazine (https://www.diggitmagazine.com).

Ana Deumert teaches sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology in the Linguistics Section, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She supervises Masters and PhD students in these areas. These include research projects on language ideologies, grassroots literacies, sociolinguistic variation, language socialization and multilingualism.

She is involved in a range of international collaborations, on the continent and beyond.


Recent Publications

Forthcoming. Language as world heritage? Critical perspectives on language-as-archive. With Anne Storch. In: Handbook of Intangible Heritage, ed. by N. Akagawa and L. Smith, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.

Forthcoming. Tsotsitaal Online – The Creativity of Tradition. In: Analyzing Multilingual Youth Practices in Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), edited by Cecilia Cutler and Unn Røyneland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Forthcoming. The Multivocality of Heritage: Moments and Encounters. In: Handbook of Superdiversity, ed. by Adrian Blackledge et al. London: Routledge.

2018. Beyond Colonial Linguistics - Critical Reflections on the Standardization of African Languages. With Nkululeko Mabandla. In: Standardizing Minority Languages: Competing Ideologies of Authority and Authenticity in the Global Periphery, ed. by Pia Lane and James Costa. London: Routledge.

2018. Mimesis and Mimicry in Digital Writing. Towards a Postcolonial Aesthetics. Language Sciences. [Special issue on creativity]

2018. Creativity and sociolinguistics. With Joan Swann. Language Sciences [Special issue on creativity]

2017. ‘My tribe is the Hessequa. I’m Khoisan. I’m African’: Language, Desire and Performance among Cape Town’s Khoisan Language Activists. With Justin Brown. Multilingua 36: 771-594.

2017. A luta continua – Black queer visibilities and philosophies of hospitality in a South African Rural Town. With Nkululeko Mabandla. Journal of Sociolinguistics 21: 397-419.

2017a. Text messaging in Africa. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. by Mark Aronoff. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Available at: http://linguistics.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.001.0001/acrefore-9780199384655-e-229)

2017b. Creole as Necessity? Creole as Choice? Evidence from Afrikaans Historical Sociolinguistics. In: Language Contact in Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas, ed. by Cecilia Cutler, Zvezdana Vrzic, and Phillip S. Angermeyer, pp. 101-122. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

2016a, Globalization Off the Beaten Track – Chinese Migration to South Africa’s Rural Towns. With Nkululeko Mabandla. In: Multilingualism in the Chinese Diaspora Worldwide, ed. by Li Wei, pp. 15-31. London: Routledge.

2016b, Linguistics and Social Media. In: Handbook of Linguistics, ed. by Keith Allen, pp. 561-573. London: Routledge.


Interests and Current Research Projects

Ana's research is located in the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, and she supervises a wide range of postgraduate theses in these fields.

Her current research focuses the role of language (and signification more generally) in global social movements, as well as the development of new theoretical perspectives in sociolinguistics, drawing on the work of anti- and ante-colonial scholars. As part of the latter project she is co-editing a volume on the colonial history of linguistics with Anne Storch (University of Cologne, Germany) and Nick Shepherd (Aarhus University, Denmark).  I am also the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on the colonial history of German (with Mark Louden, University of Wisconsin, Hans Boas, University of Austin, and Peter Maitz, University of Augsburg).


Consultation Times

By appointment.


Contact Details

Office: Room 15, AC Jordan Building

Telephone: +27 (0)21 650 3138

Email address: ana.deumert@uct.ac.za