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WOCAL (World Congress of African Linguistics) is an international congress of the studies on African languages held in every three years. It includes workshops on African sign languages since 2009.



The first workshop on African sign languages was held in the 6th congress (WOCAL6, August 2009, Cologne, Germany).

The Constitution of WOCAL was revised in August 2009 and formally recognized the status of sign languages.

The second workshop on African sign languages will be held in the 7th congress (WOCAL7, August 2012, Buea, Cameroon).


WOCAL8 Workshop (2015)

WOCAL8 Kyoto

August 20-24, 2015 Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan


  • Plenary Talk 3

Part 1: Yédê Adama SANOGO (Directeur, Society Without Barriers – Côte d’Ivoire (SWB-CI)) Title: “Promoting Deaf communities’ linguistic rights in West Africa: what role for Deaf persons in Sign Language research field?”

Part 2: Nobutaka KAMEI (Associate Professor, Aichi Prefectural University) Title: “A comparative study on the empowerment of Deaf communities as linguistic minorities: The cases of West and Central Africa in the post-Foster era”

  • Veronica Wanjiku Ng'ang'a (Kenya National Association for the Deaf):Influence of Spoken Languages on Kenyan Sign Language
  • Susanne Mohr (University of Bonn):Compounding or paraphrase? What sign sequences tell us about the hunting language of the ||Ani in Northern Botswana
  • Yves Beosso (Christian Mission for the Deaf Aledo Texas USA):The use of Visual Aids Contribute to the Ideophone Linguistics
  • Jack Owiti (St. Paul's University):Road to legal recognition of Kenyan Sign Language
  • Eyasu Hailu Tamene (Addis Ababa University) Handshape inventory of Ethiopian Sign Language
  • Michaela Köhlo (Rhodes University):A Perfect End: A study of syllable codas in South African Sign Language
  • Evouna Etoundi Henri (ACSC/CADC):The Publication of the Francophone Africa Sign Language for Education and Communication
  • Benard Ochieng' Mulama (St. Mary's School for the Deaf):Advancement of Education for the Deaf by the Change of Examination System in Kenya
  • Evans Namasaka Burichani (Garissa School for the Deaf):Kenyan Sign Language Variations in Somali-Dominant Area
  • Ritsuko Miyamoto (Akita University), Soya Mori (JETRO-IDE):Is Kenyan sign language a sister language of ASL

WOCAL7 Workshop (2012)

WOCAL7 Sign Language workshop

August 23-24, 2012, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon


  • Goedele De Clerck (Belgium), Sam Lutalo-Kiingi (Uganda/UK): Sign Language Research and Development in Africa: State of the Art
  • Introduction and aims of workshop (organising committee): welcome from Cameroon Deaf community
  • Natasha Parkins (South Africa): The Deaf community in South Africa with reference to HIV and AIDS information
  • Kidane Admasu (Ethiopia): The sociolinguistic situation and Deaf community in three areas in Ethiopian state
  • Goedele De Clerck (Belgium): Cameroon Deaf community
  • Yves Beosso (Chad): Sign language in deaf education
  • Mokhtar El Mokri (Morocco): Developing a Web TV as a Catalyst for Deaf Community Development in Morocco: The Arab Spring-Voicing Deaf Opinions
  • Nobutake Kamei (Japan): Database of proper noun signs in Africa
  • Eyasu Hailu and Pawlos Kassu (Ethiopia): Challenges in Documenting Signed Languages in Africa A Case Study of Some Selected Countries in Africa
  • Ibrahim Kyauta (Nigeria): Development of indigenous sign language in the north-west zone of Nigeria
  • Henri Evouna Etoundi (Cameroon): Dr Andrew Foster and the LSAF in the deaf community
  • Sam Lutalo-Kiingi (Uganda/UK): African sign languages and Deaf communities: language awareness and recognition
  • Marco Stanley Nyarko (Ghana): Including Ghanaian Deaf into Higher Education - challenges and ways forward
  • Bob Achgill (Cameroon): HHR - Cameroon Hand Signs DVD
  • Sam Lutalo-Kiingi (Uganda/UK): Sign language documentation in Africa

WOCAL6 Workshop (2009)

WOCAL6 Workshop on Sign Languages in Africa

August 18, 2009, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany


  • Sam Lutalo: Plenary Session: Keynote address 2: The importance of Deaf involvement in African sign language research
  • Kamei: DVD dictionary of Langue des Signes d'Afrique Francophone: Descriptive study of Creole ASL in French-speaking Africa
  • Nyst & Magassouba: Constructing corpora of African sign languages – an example from Mali
  • Gilchrist & Nyst: Demonstration on using the software, ELAN
  • Tamene: BA program Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf Culture at AAU
  • Vermeerbergen: South African signers come in many different forms
  • Hopkins: Social network theory as a predictor of sign language boundaries
  • Morgan: The role of non-dominant hand in Kenyan sign language
  • Adone & Bauer: Argument structure in emergent sign languages
  • Moges: Dichotomy in the community of Deaf Eritreans
  • Gilchrist (Shane), Otieno, Namasaka, Standardisation in Kenyan Sign Language Led by Deaf Teachers
  • Boison: Patterns of sign language use in Ghana and future objectives
  • Muzale: The Challenges of sign language Standardization – Lugha ya Alama ya Tanzania

Status of sign languages

The Constitution of WOCAL (revised in August 2009) formally recognized the status of sign languages.

2. Aims and Objectives

2.3 To stimulate research and linguistic studies on African languages, both spoken and signed.
2.7 To create awareness in the academic circles as much as in the general public for the need to recognize the African languages, both spoken and signed, as indispensable resources for individual, social, cultural, political and economic development of their speakers.

4. The Structure and Functions of the Standing Committee

4.2 There shall be a special category of co-opted members, known as special co-opted members, who will be nominated to represent organizations or associations which share the objectives of WOCAL. The length of office of such members shall be determined by the Committee. Also there shall be two special co-opted members to represent African sign language studies.

(Constitution of World Congress of African Linguistics)



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