Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences Experts

Mohamed Tristan Purvis

Assistant Professor
English Language and Linguistics
American University of Nigeria


Ph.D., Indiana University, USA. Dr. Purvis is an Assistant Professor in English Language and Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria, where he teaches courses in writing and linguistics. His research interests include discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, and language documentation, and his areal focus in African languages and linguistics has led him to pursue research in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Kenya. Prior to joining the faculty at AUN in 2012, he was a research scientist in the Less Commonly Taught Languages and Cultures area of the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL), where he specialized in African languages. He received his Ph.D in Linguistics from Indiana University in April of 2008, concentrating in Sociolinguistics and African Languages & Linguistics. His doctoral dissertation was on register variation in Dagbani, a language of northern Ghana. For his dissertation research he was a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Program Fellow in Tamale, Northern Ghana affiliated with Tamale Polytechnic University. Prior to attending graduate school, Tristan Purvis was a Crisis Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa (Feb.-Aug. 1998) and a Peace Corps volunteer and logistics coordinator in the Republic of Congo (1994-1997). He received a dual B.A. in French and Political Science at Boise State University.

Research Interest

African Languages and Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Register Variation, Sociolinguistic Variation, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, Written and Spoken Communication, Computer-Mediated Communication, Language and Politics, Literacy, Mother Tongue Literacy and Education, Language Policy, Language & Ethnicity, Information Structure, Serial Verb Constructions, Reduplication, Relative Constructions, Hesitation Phenomena, Oral Traditions, Language ID and Speech Recognition, Language Documentation, Morphology, L2 Reading and Writing, English for Academic Purposes


  • Purvis, T.M. 2012. Left dislocation in Dagbani. In M. Brenzinger & A.-M. Fehn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th World Conference on African Linguistics, pp. 515-527. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

  • Purvis, M.T. 2017. CMC terminology in Hausa as found in a corpus of Whatsapp chats. In D. Fišer & M. Beißwenger (Eds.), Investigating computer-mediated communication: Corpus-based approaches to language in the digital world, pp. 44-68. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts.

  • Purvis, T. 2017 (accepted). Hausa chat jargon: Semantic extension versus borrowing. In L. Hyman et al. (Eds.), Selected papers from the proceedings of the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Berlin: Language Science Press.

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