Assibi Apatewon Amidu

Professor Department of Language and Literature
+47 73596522
Dragvoll, Edvard Bulls veg 1, Bygg 4 * 4422

Background and activities

About me

I am a full professor of Kiswahili/Swahili (language, linguistics, literature, and culture).

I hold the following degrees:

BA in French with Swahili from the University of Ghana, Ghana (1973). 

Masters in an African language (Swahili language and literature) (1976), SOAS Unversity of London.

PhD in an African language and linguistics (Swahili) (1980), SOAS University of London.

I have taught  Kiswahili/Swahili since 1980. 

I currently teach the following courses:

SWA1101 Swahili Language I. 

SWA1111 Swahili Language II.

SWA1102 Swahili history, civilization, and culture.

Research interests I

Kiswahili/Swahili language and linguistic structure, primarily its morphology and syntax, with emphasis on the following: 

Gender and noun classes in Kiswahili/Swahili and Bantu. 

The paradox of matrix NPs in Kiswahili/Swahili and syntactic theory. 

Transitivity and argument structure in Kiswahili/Swahili. 

Pronouns and pronominalization, including reflexive and reflexivization and relativization

The diversity between Kiswahili/Kiswahili language structure, on one side, and linguistic, typological, documentation and, grammatical theories and models, on the other side. 

Aspects of language contact, especially lexical and grammatical borrowings.

Research interests II

Kiswahili/Swahili history, civilization, culture, and literature (both traditional and modern).

Kiswahili/Swahili in the social, cultural, educational and political development of East Africa. 

Kiswahili/Kiswahili in national and transnational language planning, education, broadcasting, and as a vehicle of wide communication (LWC) or lingua franca.

Kiswahili/Swahili as a medium for the expression of identity, as well as political, global, religious, human, children and gender rights both in Eastern African and in the diaspora.

Kiswahili/Swahili and modernity in a global world.

Current projects

Tenses in Kiswahili/Swahili with particular emphasis on gaps in the their grammatical descriptions.

The paradox of Kiswahili/Swahili locative syntax in modern linguistic syntax. 


Responsible for all aspects of Kiswahili/Swahilli programme and teaching since 1992.

Member of the Programme Board for Foreign Languages in our department.

Membership of societies

Member of the Linguistic Association of Korea.

Member of the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT).

Member of the Nordic Association of Linguistics.

Member of the editorial board of the Journal of Humanities (JH), University of Dodoma, Tanzania.



Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Amidu, Assibi Apatewon. (2013) Objects and complements in Kiswahili clauses : : a study of their mechanisms and patterns. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. 2013. ISBN 9783896455604.
  • Amidu, Assibi Apatewon. (2011) Reflexive and reciprocal syntax revisited : apologia for internal evidence in Kiswahili. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. 2011. ISBN 9783896457073.
  • Amidu, Assibi Apatewon. (2009) Matrix Nominal Phrases in Kiswahili Bantu. A Study of their Effects on Argument Syntax. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. 2009. ISBN 9783896455505.
  • Amidu, Assibi Apatewon. (2007) Semantic assigment rules in Bantu classes. A renalysis based on Kiswahili. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. 2007. ISBN 9783896457035.
  • Amidu, Assibi Apatewon. (2006) Pronouns and Pronominalizations in Kiswahili Grammar. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. 2006. ISBN 3896455435.