Rebecca Grollemund

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor of English
321 Tate Hall

Ph.D. in Linguistics, 2012, Université Lumière Lyon 2 & Laboratoire ‘Dynamique du Langage’, France


Research areas: Phonetics, Phonology, Historical Linguistics, African Linguistics, Bantu and Bantoid languages, Language evolution, Phylogenetic Classifications.

I have just been awarded (2022-2025) a NSF grant (NSF Dynamic Language Infrastructure - NEH Documenting Endangered Languages (DLI-DEL)) entitled “Continuity and divergence in Cameroonian languages: New perspectives on the Bantu genesis” to work on Bantu and Bantoid languages spoken in Cameroon ($420,000)


My research covers the description, classification and history of African languages spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically Bantoid and Bantu languages with particular interest to classifications using phylogenetic methods. I try to understand human migrations by combining linguistic, geographical, palaeoclimate and simulated data.

Frequently Taught Courses

Linguistics 1060: Human Language
Linguistics 3620: Languages of the world
Linguistics 4420: Historical Linguistics

Select Publications

Grollemund, R. & Pagel, M. To appear in 2022. Phylogenetic approaches to Bantu historical linguistics. In The Oxford Guide to the Bantu Languages, Marten, L., Kula, N., Zeller, J. & Hurst, E. (eds). Oxford University Press.

Grollemund, R., Branford, B., Hombert, J.-M. & Watters, J. To appear in 2022. Towards a new phylogenetic classification of Bantoid languages. In Towards Proto-Niger-Congo: Comparison and Reconstruction, Watters, J. (ed.). Language Science Press.

Marlo, M., Grollemund, R., Nguyen, T., Platner, E., Pribe, S. & Thein, A. 2021. A phylogenetic classification of Luyia language varieties. In Descriptive and Theoretical Approaches to African Linguistics: Proceedings of the 49th Annual conference on African Linguistics, Sibanda, G., Ngonyani, D., Choti, J. & Biersteker A. (eds.). Berlin: Language Science Press.

Philippson, G. & Grollemund, R. 2019. Methods of Bantu historical language classification. In The Bantu Languages, Second Edition, Van de Velde, M. & Bostoen, K. (eds). London-New-York: Routledge Press.

Grollemund, R., Hombert, J.-M. & Branford, B. 2018. A Phylogenetic study of North-Western Bantu and South Bantoid languages. In The Dynamics of Language: Plenary and focus lectures from the 20th International Congress of Linguists Cape Town, July 2018, Mesthrie, R. & Bradley, D. (eds), Cape Town: UCT Press.

Patin, E., Lopez, M., Grollemund, R., Verdu, P., Harmant, C., Quach, H., Laval, G., Perry, G.H., Barreiro, L.B., Froment, A., Heyer, E., Massougbodji, A., Fortes-Lima, C., Migot-Nabias, F., Bellis, G., Dugoujon, J.-M., Pereira, J.B., Fernandes, V., Pereira, L., Van der Veen, L., Mouguiama-Daouda, P., Bustamante, C.D., Hombert, J.-M., Quintana-Murci, L., 2017. Dispersals and genetic adaptation of Bantu-speaking populations in Africa and North America. Science, 356, pp. 543-546.

Grollemund, R., Branford, S., Bostoen, K., Meade, A., Venditti, C. & Pagel, M. 2015. Bantu expansion shows that habitat alters the route and pace of human dispersals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 112:43, pp. 13296-13301.

de Schryver, G.-M., Grollemund, R., Branford, S. and Bostoen K., 2015. Introducing a state-of-the-art phylogenetic classification of the Kikongo language cluster. Africana Linguistica , 21, pp. 87-162.

Bostoen, K., Clist, B., Doumenge, C., Grollemund, R., Hombert, J.-M, Koni Muluwa, J. & Maley, J. 2015. Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of West Central-Africa. Current Anthropology, 56:3, pp. 354-384.

Bostoen, K., Grollemund, R., Muluwa, J., 2013. Climate-induced vegetation dynamics and the Bantu expansion: evidence from Bantu names for pioneer trees (Elaeis guineensis, Canarium schweinfurthii and Musanga cecropioides). C.R. Geoscience, 345:7-8, pp. 336-349.