Bantu and other African Languages Collection

Scope and Content

Papers, largely undated, some dated 1943-1974, by various authors, some unidentified, concerning the study of Bantu and other, mainly East African, languages, comprising typescript and manuscript papers on Bantu and its various forms, 1973 and undated, including word lists; typescript and manuscript papers on non-Bantu languages, c1957-1974 and undated, including phonetics, grammar and word lists; papers on other subjects, 1943 and undated, including English vocabulary with reference to African education; general files, 1954-1973 and undated, on linguistics, including glottochronometry and lexico-statistics, and related subjects.


The papers are roughly divided between language groups, but the original folders have been kept intact and therefore some similar material is divided between various files.

Access Information


Acquisition Information



Bantu refers to an African ethnic and linguistic group, numbering c120 million and inhabiting much of Africa south of the river Congo. There are almost a hundred Bantu languages, which include, for example, Swahili and Zulu. Most are tonal. The Bantu group of languages forms a subdivision of the Benue-Niger division of the Niger-Congo branch of the Niger-Kordofanian language family. African languages have been subject to scholarly interest particularly in the 20th century.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist