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Sam A. Mchombo

Sam A. Mchombo

Sam A. Mchombo

Associate Professor

E: mchombo@berkeley.edu
P: 510-229-3686


Sam Mchombo received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of London in 1978. He held an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in Chichewa and Linguistics at the University of Malawi in East Africa, where he pioneered the Department of African Languages and Linguistics. In 1984, he traveled to the United States under the auspices of the Fulbright Foundation as a Visiting Scholar at MIT and Stanford University. In the fall of that year, he held an appointment as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT sponsored by the Systems Development Foundation. From January 1985 through summer 1988, he held appointment as Lecturer in Linguistics at San Jose State University. In the summer of 1988, he joined the faculty of the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. His research has centered on the morphological and syntactic structure of Bantu languages of Africa and the relevance of that to the formalization of grammatical theory. Beginning with work done for his doctoral degree and pursued in subsequent publications he has been involved in advancing a lexical theory of grammar and has played a major role in advancing work on the theory of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). He has conducted research into the syntax and semantics of reciprocal constructions in Bantu languages as part of his investigation of the logical structure of Bantu languages, and of the relation between morpho-syntax and semantics. His recent research has focused on interactions between grammatical and information structure. His other publications have dealt with aspects of political developments in Southern Africa, on sports and development, as well as on soccer, national identity, and globalization. He has written on a wide range of topics, including papers on the democratic transition in Malawi, the role of the media in fostering democracy in Southern Africa, the role of women in building democracy, religion and politics in Malawi, as well as on issues of national identity and the politics of language in Southern Africa. He has held appointments as visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong, The University of Limpopo in South Africa, the University of London and, Universidad de Sonora in Mexico. He is involved with his local community as a soccer referee for youth and adults. In 2003 he was appointed Distinguished African Scholar for spring for the Institute for African Development at Cornell University.



2004: The syntax of Chichewa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
1993: Theoretical Aspects of Bantu Grammar. Stanford, CA: CSLI (ed.)

Edited Journal:

1999: Linguistic Analysis. Special Issue on African Linguistics. Vol. 29 No. 1-2, (ed.)

Journal Articles:

2007: Religion and Politics in Malawi. Issues in Political Discourse Analysis. Vol. 1, Issue 2. 2007 pp 107-125

2006: Linear Order Constraints on Split NPs in Chichewa. Zentrum fuer Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) Papers in Linguistics 43. 2006: 143-160, Berlin, Germany.

2006. 'Sports and Development in Malawi.' Soccer and Society Vol. 7, Numbers 2-3, April-July 2006. 318-338.

2003. Choppin' Up Chichewa: Theoretical Approaches to Parsing an Agglutinative Language. Malilime: Malawian Journal of Linguistics 3. 15-34.

2001. Verbal Organization and the Study of Cognition and Culture. Malilime. Malawian Journal of Linguistics. 2. 28-46

2000. 'The Role of the Language Teacher in the Age of Evolving Digital Technologies.' Journal of African Language Teachers Association.Vol. 1.2. 11-26

1999. Quantification and Verb Morphology: The case of reciprocals in African Languages. Linguistic Analysis. 29: 1-2, 1999. 182-213

1999. 'Argument structure and verbal morphology in Chichewa.' Malilime. Malawian Journal of Linguistics. 1.57-75

1999. Double Object Constructions in Chichewa and Gitonga: A Comparative Analysis. Linguistic Analysis 29. 1-2. 1999 (Co-author, Gregorio Firmino). 214-233.

1998. Reciprocal Expressions and the Concept of Reciprocity. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (co-authors, Mary Dalrymple, Makoto Kanazawa, Yookyung Kim, and Stanley Peters). 159-210

1998. National Identity, Democracy and the Politics of Language in Malawi and Tanzania. Journal of African Policy Studies 4.1. 33-46

1997. The Role of the Media in Fostering Democracy in Southern Africa. Journal of African Policy Studies Vol. 3. Number 2 & 3. 1-22

1995. The Lexical Integrity Principle: Evidence from Bantu. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 13. (Co-author, Joan Bresnan) 181-254.

1994. The Syntax and Semantics of the Reciprocal Construction in Ciyao. Linguistic Analysis. 24 (Co-author, Armindo Ngunga). 3-31

1993. A Formal Analysis of the Stative Construction in Bantu. Journal of African Languages & Linguistics 14.1. 5-28.

1990. The Syntax of Applicatives in Chichewa: Problems for Theta-Theoretic Asymmetry. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 8. (Co-author Alex Alsina). 493-506.

1987. Topic, Pronoun, and Agreement in Chichewa. Language 63 (Co-author, Joan Bresnan). 741-782

1983. Noncyclic Grammar. Linguistic Analysis 11 (Co-author, Al D. Mtenje). 219-236.

Reciprocal Verbs in Chichewa: A Case for Lexical Derivation. Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies 43 (Co-author, Rosemary Ngalande). 570-575.

20. 1980. Dative and Passive in Chichewa: An Argument for Surface Grammar. Linguistic Analysis 6. 97-113.

Book Chapters and Conference Proceedings:

2009. Life as a linguist and language teacher from the third world. Fernandez, Zarina Estrada, Albert Alvarez Gonzalez, & Maria Belen Carpio (eds.) Ser Linguistica. Un Oficio diverso y polifacetico. Diez anos de una maestria en linguistica. Hermosillo, Sonora, Editorial Unison, 2009. Pp. 115-132.

2009. Information Structuring inside Constituents. The Case of Chichewa Split NPs. (co-author, Yukiko Morimoto). In Shaer, Benjamin, Phillippa Cook, Werner Frey, and Claudia Maienborn (eds). Dislocated Elements in Discourse. Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic Perspectives. NY: Routledge. 255-283.

2007. Dislocation and Split NPs in Chichewa. In Zaenen, Annie, Jane Simpson, Tracy Holloway King, Jane Grimshaw, Joan Maling, and Chris Manning (eds.) Architectures, Rules, and Preferences: Variations on Themes by Joan Bresnan. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. 369-384.

2005. Argument Binding and Morphology in Chichewa. Texas Linguistics Society 9. http://csli-publications.stanford.edu/TLS/TLS9-2005/

2005. Nyanja. Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. 2. Volume 8. Oxford, Elsevier. Brown, Keith (ed.) 744-754

2005. The Language Situation in Malawi. Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. 2. Volume 7. Oxford: Elsevier. Brown, Keith (ed.) 447-450

2005: Partitioning Discourse Information: A Case of Chichewa Split Constituents Proceedings of the LFG 05 Conference. Butt, Miriam & Tracy Holloway King (eds.) 2005. CSLI Publications. http://csli-publications.stanford.edu/ (Co-authors: Yukiko Morimoto, and Caroline Fery).

2004. Head-marking, Agreement and Partial Configurationality in Chichewa. In Aguilar, Isabel Barreras & Mirna Castro Llamas (eds.) Septimo Encuentro International de Lingueistica en el Noroeste Volume 1. Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Mexico 431-444.

2004. Configuring Topic in the Left Periphery: A Case of Chichewa Split NPs. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 35.2. Proceedings of the Dislocated Elements Workshop, Berlin, Germany, November 2003. In Shaer,Benjamin, Werner Frey, & Claudia Maienborn (eds.) (Co-author, Yukiko Morimoto). 347-374.

2003. On Discontinuous Constituents in Chichewa. In Sauzet, Patrick & Zribi-Hertz, Anne (eds.) 'Typologie des langues d'Afrique et universaux de la grammaire' Paris: L‚Harmattan. 141-167

2002. Affixes, clitics and Bantu morphosyntax. In Amberber, Mengistu & Peter Collins (eds.). Language Universals and Variation. Perspectives on Cognitive Science 3. Westport, CT: Praeger. 185-210

2002. Argument structure, functional structure and the split ˆmorphology hypothesis. In Fernandez, Zarina Estrada, y Rosa Maria Ortiz Ciscomani (eds.) 2002. VI Encuentro Intrenacional de Linguistica en el Noroeste, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. 29-53.

2001. Effects of Head-marking on Constituent Order in Chichewa. In Butt, Miriam & Tracy Holloway King (eds.). Proceedings of the LFG 01 Conference. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. 221-237.

2001. Chichewa. In Garry, Jane & Carl Rubino (eds.) Facts About the World's Major Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World‚s major Languages, Past and Present. NY: The H.W. Wilson Company. 131-133.

1998. Chichewa: A Morphological Sketch. In Spencer, Andrew & Arnold Zwicky (eds.) The Handbook of Morphology. Oxford, UK & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell pp. 500-520

1998. Democratization in Malawi: Its Roots and Prospects. In Gros, Jean-Germain (ed). Democratization in Late Twentieth Century Africa. Coping with Uncertainty. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. 21-40

1997. Contributions of African Languages to Generative Grammar. In Herbert, Robert K. ed. 1997. African Linguistics at the Crossroads. Papers from Kwaluseni. Koln: Rudiger Koppe Verlag. 179-206