Pierpaolo Di Carlo

Research Associate Professor

Department of Linguistics

University at Buffalo

The State University of New York

Email: pierpaol@buffalo.edu


Ethnography of communication, Small-scale multilingualism, Language documentation, Ethnography, Dardic, Bantoid, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Verbal Art Performance, Multidisciplinarity in the Social Sciences, GIS applied to the Humanities

At a glance

I am a linguist anthropologist with an interest in language diversity and change and a specialization in the documentation and analysis of endangered languages and communicative practices from a multidisciplinary perspective. For my PhD, I focused on the language and the culture of the Kalasha of the Birir Valley, in North-West Pakistan, with the goal of enhancing the understanding of the language-culture nexus among the last speakers of an Indo-European language practicing a highly conservative form of polytheism. Since 2010, I work on languages, communicative practices, and societies of the Cameroonian Grassfields. In particular, I have progressively specialized in the sociolinguistic study of the forms of indigenous, small-scale multilingualism that I documented in several rural areas of Cameroon. More recently, this line of research brought me to work with displaced populations in both southern and northern Cameroon, including Boko Haram refugees from the linguistically diverse Mandara mountains in the UNHCR camp of Minawao. In parallel, I have focused on the study of processes of language convergence and divergence in both the languages of the Hindu-Kush and the Cameroonian Grassfields.



A good part of my work is devoted to the design and management of international research projects, most commonly led in collaboration between institutions from the Global North (e.g. the University at Buffalo) and the Global South (e.g. Cameroonian Universities or NGOs in Pakistan). Managing projects of this kind includes substantial work to develop training activities for participants (e.g. undergrad and graduate students, postdoc associates, and technicians), which in turn require enough flexibility and sensitivity to develop truly cross-cultural communication. Since 2022, this kind of work has led me to also adopt Internet-in-a-box technology.