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Dr. Audrey Nonhlanhla Mbeje

February 10, 2014


Dr. Audrey Nonhlanhla Mbeje is the director of the African Language Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mbeje’s received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Ball State University with concentrations in theoretical linguistics, second language acquisition, and rhetoric. As a professor of a “less commonly taught language,” Zulu, Mbeje is working to develop text-based and online materials for studying Zulu and other African languages.

In addition to teaching courses like Zulu and “African Language and Culture” at Penn, Mbeje is a former president of the African Language Teacher Association, an organization that works for the advancement of the teaching of African languages. She also published Zulu Learners’ Reference Grammar, the first grammar textbook written by a native Zulu speaker targeting second language learners. This book is used to teach Zulu all over the world.

Dr. Mbeje hopes to collaborate with institutions and colleagues to increase interest in less commonly taught languages. At Penn, she works to connect students with funding so that they may continue studying Zulu and other African languages.

Nina Blalock CAS’14

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