I am an independent researcher working in Togo, West Africa, in collaboration - as a linguistics, literacy and education consultant - with SIL International.

I am particularly interested in grappling with the question of how tone should be written in practical orthographies. Orthography studies have traditionally had the misfortune of falling between the analytical approach of the linguist and the didactic concerns of the literacy specialist. On the one hand, many linguists are uninterested in practical orthographies because they consider them to be unscientific. On the other hand, literacy specialists have a tendency to shy away from orthography issues, because they are perceived as requiring technical skills that are beyond their scope.

Dave & EmmanuelIn my linguistic fieldwork, I seek to find the balance between these two extremes, by helping to promote orthography studies as an academic discipline in its own right. I take an interdisciplinary approach, exploring the connections between the study of writing systems, phonology, the psychology of reading and sociolinguistics. Although my own fieldwork has all been in Africa, I am also interested in dialoguing with researchers on other continents.

By the way, the name of this website comes from the Kabiye word ñɩnɩyʋ meaning “one who searches”, in other words, a researcher.

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