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DUNCAN OKOTH OKOMBO, PH.D (Nairobi)
Professor of Linguistics and Communication Skills Department of Linguistics and
Literature & Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences (CEES)
0 Prof. Okoth Okombo has a dual distinction as a distinguished scholar in the area of
Sign Language Research and Development, and the field of Nilotic Language Studies.
. He is gel}'erally regarded as the founder of the scientific study of sign language in
Africa, aridy.ridely acclaimed as one of the leading scholars in sign language studies
in the wo[ld. In Kenya, Prof. Okoth Okombo is the founder and director of the
,. Kenyan Sign Language Research Project, based at the University of Nairobi. The
project has led to various scientific publications on the structure, vocabulary, and
sociological properties of the language of deaf Kenyans.
The project has
consequently given tremendous recognition to the Deaf as a language community in
Kenya, leading to the use of Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) in schools, the electronic
media, cOUli proceedings, hospitals, church services, and many other domains of life
,.
.
w
. here deaf Kenyans are involved.
Prof. Okoth Okombo has been involved in establishing similar projects and research
activities in other African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland, and South
Africa. In all these places, his work and ideas have opened up new opportunities in life
for deaf people, and created new career paths for hearing people, who are increasingly
being trained and employed as sign language interpreters.
.
Prof. Okoth Okombo's achievements in the field of sign language research and
development have been recognized by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), which
elected him International President of the WFD Sign Language Scientific Commission
for the period 1992 --1995.
.. ./2
'"
DUNCAN OKOI'll OKOMUO. l'Il.D (Nairobi)
0 In the field of Nilotic Studies, Prof. Okoth Okombo has made significant contributions
in research and publications, especially on Dholuo - the Nilotic
language of the Luo community of Kenya and Tanzania. Alongside the study of
Dholuo, Prof. Okoth Okombo has played a key role in the research which has given
local and international recognition to the hitherto little known Suba language of the
Western Kenya Bantu group oflanguages. As a result of his collaborative work with
the renowned Nilotic scholar, Professor Franz Rottland of Germany (now retired), the
Suba language is now heard on radio broadcasts, and has literacy materials both in the
bible and school texts.
0 Apart from his two major areas of focus as outlined above, Prof. Okoth Okombo has
concurrently been a prime mover in the African efforts to pay attention to indigenous
African languages in the area of language policy. In 1994/95 he led a high calibre
African team of language scholars in the evaluation of the place of African languages
in language-of-instruction policies in Africa. Between 1995 and 1998, he served as a
Unesco/Government of Kenya expert in language policy deliberations that took place
in Accra, Harare, and Cape Town, leading to some of the current fundamental
guidelines on language policy in Africa. In the year 2000, he was invited to join the
team of international experts assisting in the formulation of a national language policy
for Malawi.
0 Currently, Prof. Okoth Okombo is a member of a number of local and international
scholarly organizations, including the Amsterdam-based Functional Grammar
Foundation, the Kenya National Academy of Sciences, the World Congress of
African Linguistics (of which he is a member of the Executive Committee), and the
World Federation of the Deaf (of which he is the Sign Language Regional Expert for
Africa).
0 In spite of this busy menu oflocal and international activities, Prof. Okoth Okombo is a
highly dedicated and gifted teacher of linguistics and communication skills, as well as
an effective institutional administrator. After 11 years of serving as the founder
Chairman of the Department of Linguistics and Literature (CEES), he was in April
2000 elected Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, his current administrative
position. In both his teaching and administrative responsibilities, he is well served by
his extraordinary practical competence in written and oral communication.
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D. Okoth Okombo, CV 2000/200]
Curriculum Vitae Flash
Summary of University Career Profile
Cover page
PERSONAL DATA
...........
EDUCATION
..............
1
WORK
EXPERIENCE
...
... ..................
2
PUBLICATIONS
.
4
UNPUBLISHED
PAPERS
.. .. .. .. ..
8
RESEARCH/PROJECTS
IN PROGRESS
...
9
HONOURS/IvIERIT
AWARDS
.. .. .. .. ..
9
Summary of University Career Profile (UON)
Date
Appointment
Department
OCTOBER 1979 (l st appointment) Tutorial Fellow
Linguistics & African Languages
JULY 1984 (On promotion)
Lecturer
Linguistics & African Languages
JULY 1988 (On promotion)
Senior Lecturer
Linguistics & African Languages
OCTOBER 1988 (On transfer)
Senior Lecturer
Linguistics & Literature (CEES)
OCTOBER 1992 (On promotion) Associate Professor
Linguistics & Literature (CEES)
JANUARY 1999 (On promotion) Professor (Linguistics &
Communication Skills)
Linguistics & Literature
1. PERSONAL DATA
NAME..........................
Date of Birth. . . ... . . . .. . . . . . . . .
Place of Birth... . . . . .. ... . .. . . ..
Nationality.......................... .
Marital Status... ... ... ... ... .. .
Highest academic qualification. . .
D. Okoth Okombo, ev 200012001
D. Okoth Okombo
November 8, 1950
Rusinga Island, Kenya
Kenyan
Married, with 3 children
Ph.D (Linguistics
Current Teaching Position ................ Professor of Linguistics &Communication skills,
Department of Linguistics & Literature, University
of Nairobi (Kikuyu Campus)
Current Administrative Position ....... Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences,
College of Education and External Studies,
University of Nairobi
2. EDUCATION
1981-86. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1977 -79... . .. . .. ... ... .. . . .. .. . . . . . ..
1974-77... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
1971-1974. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1967- 70... ... ........... """""'"
1959 - 66...........................
Nairobi University: Ph.D Linguistics & African Languages (Awarded 1987)
Nairobi University: M.A Linguistics & African languages (Awarded 1979)
Nairobi University B.A Linguistics (Awarded 1977First Class Honours)
Kenyatta college: (Mathas and English S 1 Teaching Certificate (Pass with Distinction Leading to special Admission to Nairobi University)
Mbita Secondary School: East African Certificate of Education (First Division)
Kaswanga Primary School: Kenya Primary Education ( Certificate)
1
IfJ
......- ..
D. Oko/h Okoll7!Jo, rv 2000/2001
3. WORK EXPERIENCE
A. University Teaching and Administration (UON)
0 DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS AND LITERATURE
Current Position: 1992 - Dec 1998: 1988 -1992: 1988 - April 2000:
Professor (Linguistics and Communication Skills) Associate Professor
Senior Lecturer
Head of Department
0 DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS AND AFRlCAN LANGUAGES (UON)
August 1988 - October 1988.. . . .. .... Senior Lecturer
July 1984 - July 1988 .............. . .. . ... Lecturer
October 1979 - June 1984 .....Tutorial Fellow
0 F ACUL TY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
Currently (since April 2000) Academic Dean of Faculty
Performed concurrently with my professional duties in the Department of Linguistics
and Literature.
B. High School Teaching
May - September 1972 ...................... Nyakongo Girls' Secondary school
May - June 1974 ................................ Nyambaria Secondary School
July - September 1972....................... Lwak Girls' Secondary School
C. Examining in Other Universities
Dar-Es-Salaam University (Tanzania).....
External Examiner: Kiswahili Studies, M. A, Linguistics (since 1989)
Moi University (Kenya).....................
External Examiner: English, M. A. Linguistics (since 1989) Communication Skills (Since
1995)
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya)
External Examiner: Communication Skins
and Development Studies (Since 1991)
Solusi University (Zimbabwe). . . . . . . . . . . .
External Examiner: English (Since 1997)
2
-~,~
--. -~
Egerton University (Kenya)...............
Kenyatta
-- -.. University--(Kenya).............
-.----------------------D. Okofh Oko/11ho, CV 200W200 1
External Examiner Linguistics (Since 1998)
External Examiner: Linguistics (since January 1999)
Catholic University (East Africa) ... ............. External Examiner:
LinguisticslEnglish (Since January 2001)
External Examiner: Linguistics (Since Jan
2000)
Maseno University (Kenya)..............
D. Visiting Scholar at Other Universities
December 1981-March 1982 (3 months).. August - September 1989 ( 4 weeks).. . . . .
September-October 1990 ( 5 weeks). . . . . . . .
March - July 1994 ( 5 months) ........ .. .. ..
E. Special University Committees
(UON)
1989/90..
""""""""""'"
........... ...
... ... ... ...
... ........ ... ... ....
1990/91
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
. . ...
. . ...
. . ...
. . '". . ...
............
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
1990-1994. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
F. Project Management
Since 1991 ............... ... . .. . . ..
Collogne University, West Germany Northwestern University U.S.A Laboratoire des
Languages et Civilisations a' tradition Orale/lnstituit Nationa1e des Langues et
Civilisations Orientales, Paris
Bayreuth University, Germany
Chairman, CEES (CAB) Committee on Promotion Criteria for Teaching Staff
Member, Senate common Undergraduate Courses Syllabus committee (Chairman: Prof.
Akello Ogutu)
Member, Senate Committee on the Terms of service for Tutorial Fellows, Assistant
Lecturers, Lecturers (Chairman: Prof. Senei)
Member, Senate Committee on the Evaluation of the Office of the Dean of Students
(Chairman: Prof. Were)
CEES Representative, VON Board of Postgraduate Studies
Director, Kenyan Sign Language Research Project
'" .)
,.~
..........
~ ------ -,",
_._,..- --------.----------_'_H
D. Okoth Okom!Jo, CV 2000/2001
G. Curriculum Evaluation
Since 1993... .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . ... Resource person for the Commission for
Higher Education Curriculum Committee
(Language and Communications Syllabi)
H. TECHNICAL EDITING
Over the last 15 years, I have undertaken a wide range of part-time technical editing jobs
with the following organizations/publishers
0 African Council for Communication Education (Africa Media Review)
0 The Kenya National Academy of Sciences (Journal of Sciences: Humanities
and Social Sciences)
0 East African Educational Publishers (books)
0 Basic Books (books)
0 Institute for Development Studies (IDS Occasional Papers)
0 Institute of Population Studies (Research reports)
0 Unicef (Project reports)
0 Abantu for Development (Project reports)
0 Wamama (Project reports)
0 Eastern African Economic Review (Journals)
0 AAWORD (Project Reports)
0 Kenya Oral Literature Association (books)
4. PUBLICATIONS
OKOMBO (1982)
Dholuo Morphophonemics in (a) Generative Framework. Dietrich Reimer Verlag
OKOMBO (1983)
a. Masira Ki Ndaki (a Luo Story). Nairobi: Mawazo Publications
b. Alpha vs. Non-alpha: Some Observations on the Position of the Semantic Functions on
the Semantic Function Hierarchy.' In S.C Dik (ed.) Advances in Functional Grammar.
Dordrecht Holland: Foris Publications.
c. Linguistics and History of Nasal Compounds in dholuo.' In Proceedings of the
International Symposium on Languages and History of the Nilotic
People. Collogne 1982
OKOMBO (1984)
A Review ofChetACreiders Studies in Kalenjin Nominal Tonology.' In Journal of
African Languages and Linguistics. Vol. 6,203-205
OKOMBO (1986)
a. English in East Africa. Some Efforts Towards Indigenization. 'In Proceedings of the
Conference on English in East Africa. Nairobi 1986Nairobi 1986
4
D. Okolh Okomho. rv 200012001
b. With RoUland, f. The Suba of Kenya: a Case of Growing Ethnicity with Receding
Language Competence.' In AAP Vol. 1, 115-126
OKOMBO (1987)
Study of English 1. (External Degree Study Units). Nairobi University Press
OKOMBO (1988)
a. Semantic Issues (in the S.M. Otieno Case). 'In lB. Ojwang' and IN.K Mugambi
(Eds(. The S.M Otieno Case. (cap. 7). Nairobi University Press.
b. The Strange Bride (A Translation of Grace Ogot's Miaha) Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya
Ltd.
c. With Fonseca, G. M. Heinemann Primary English 1. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya Ltd.
d. With Fonseca, G. M. Heinemann Primary English 2. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya Ltd e.
With Fonseca, G. M. Heinemann Primary English 3. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya Ltd
OKOMBO(1990)
a. A student's Guide to Writing and Study Skills. Nairobi University Press
b. With Fonseca, G. M. Heinemann Primary English 4. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya Ltd
c. With Fonseca, G. M. Heinemann Primary English 5. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya Ltd
OKOMBO (1991)
a. 'The Language Teacher as a Teacher of Clear Thinking.' In the Proceedings of the
British Council Seminar on the Role of Language and Literature in the School
Curriculum. Nairobi, 1991.
b. 'Valency in Dholuo: Towards a Uniform Account of Transitive and Intransitive
Constructions.' In Proceedings of the Fourth Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium.
Helmut Buske Verlag
c. 'Training Listeners to Teach Listening'. In Proceedings of the Conference on Academic
Communication Skills in African Universities. Nairobi, 1990
d. 'Obstacles to the Development of African Sign Languages;' In Proceedings of the Xl
world Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf. Tokyo, 1991
e. 'Luo Meets Latin: Linguistic Evidence for Contacts Between Speakers ofPre-Dholuo
and Speakers ofLation.' In Proceedings of the Third Nilo-Saharan Linguistic Colloquium.
Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag
5
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D. Okolh Okomho, (T' 2000/2001
OKOMBO (1992)
a. 'Linguistic aspects of the Second Scramble for Africa.' In K Ndeti and K R. Gray
(eds.), The Second Scramble for Africa: Response and Critical analysis of the
Challenges Facing Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Nairobi: Professors World
Peace Academy
b. ed. With Nandwa, J. Reflections on Theories and Methods in Oral Literature
KOLA
c. 'Language Education Improvement and the Creation of Language Related Careers in
Kenya.' In KR. Gray (ed.), Employment and Education in Kenya: Strategies and
Opportunities for Development. Nairobi: Professors World Peace Academy
-.
d. 'The Place of Ethno methodology in the Study of Oral Literature.' In O. Okombo and 1.
Nandwa (Eds), Reflections on Theories and Methods in Oral Literature. Nairobi: KOLA
e. 'African Languages: Will Sign Language Have Better Luck?' In Proceedings of East
African Sign Language Seminar. Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, 1990
f. 'Michael Noonan: A grammar of Lang' 0.' A book review in Journal of African
Languages and Linguistics. Vol. 15-1, 80-85
g. 'Linguistics and the Liberation of the Kenyan Deaf: Some Research Agenda for Sign
Language Developers.' In Proceedings of East African Sign Language Seminar. Debre
Zit, Ethiopia, 1990
h. With Rottland, F. 'Language Shift among the Suba of Kenya.' In M. Brenzinger (ed.)
Language Death: Factual and Theoretical Exploration with Special Reference to East
Africa. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Grryter
,
i. 'Bilingualism in the Schools for the Deaf.' In Proceedings of East African Sign
Language Seminar. Nairobi, Kenya 1992
OKOMBO (1993)
a. 'Language Policy for DEF A (basic Education for All).' In Basic Education Forum.
Vol. 3,45-51
b. 'Communication Theory.' In the Industrial Court: A Course book for Trade Unionist.
Kenya: FES and COTD
c. With Chege , G. Wa E.A.E.P Primary English 6. Nairobi: East African Educational
Publishers
OKOMBO(1994)
6
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~----- ------D. Okoth Okol11ho, CV 2000/2001
a. 'Kenya Sign Language (KSL): Some Attitudinal and cognitive Issues in the Evolution
of a Languagecommunity.' In 1. Ahlgren and K. Hyltenstam (eds.), BILNGUALISM IN
DEAF EDUCATION Hamburg: Signum
b. ed. With Bukenya, a. and Kabira, w. M. Understanding Oral Literature. Kenya:
Nairobi University Press
c. 'Oral Literature and Translation.' In A. Bukenya, w. M. Kabira and O. Okombo (eds.),
Understanding Oral Literature. Kenya: Nairobi University Press
d. 'Interpreting, translation and theory.' In Proceedings of the Fourth East and Southern
Sign Language Seminar. Kampala, Uganda, 1994
e. 'Organization of Sign Language Interpreter Training and Interpreting Services in
Kenya. 'In Proceedings for the Fourth East and Southern African Sign Language
Seminar. Kampala, Uganda, 1994
f. ed. With Masinjila, M. Teaching Oral Literature. Nairobi: KOLA
g. 'The Semantics ofDholuo Colour Terms.' In AAP 40 131-138
OKOMBO (1995)
(a) Nafasi ya Kiswahili Cha Mazungumzo Katika Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu.' J. G.
Kiango and J. s Mdee (editors), Utafiti Na Utungaji wa Kamusi P.P 73-82 TAASISI Y
A UCHUNGUZI W A KISW AHILI CHUO KIKUU CRA DAR ES SALAAM
(b) With G. wa Chege E.A.E.P Primary English 7. Nairobi: East African Educational
Publishers
(c) The Cannibals (a Novel). Nairobi: Basic Books
OKOMBO (1996)
(a) With G. Fonseca E.A.E.P. Primary English Teachers' Guide to Book 1. Nairobi: East
African Educational Publishers
OKOMBO (1997)
(a) P.O Akach. Language Convergence and Wave Phenomena in the Growth of National
Sign Language in Kenya
In International Journal of the Sociology of Language, No. 125, PP131 - 144
(b) With Githinji wa Chege. E.A.E.P. Primary English 8. Nairobi: East African
Educational Publishers
(c) Key contributor (see acknowledgements) to Languages ofInstruction: Policy
Implications for Education in Africa. IDRC PUBLICATION
(d) With KSLRP staff. Introduction to KSL Teachers' Manual. Nairobi: KSLRP/SHIA 7
"'"
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D. Okoth Okomho. ('V 2000/2001
(e) A Functional Grammar of Dholuo. Koln: Rudiger Koppe Verlag
OKOMBO (1998)
(a) With Masheti Masinjila (ed.) Voices from the Mountain: Personal Life Histories from
Mt. Elgon. Nairobi: KOLA
(b) Key contributor (See acknowledgements), I.B. Machungo' s Evaluation of the Status
of Teaching and Use of African Languages in Higher Education. Accra: Worldwide Press
Limited.
(c )''Need for Deaf Communication as part of Regulating Translation and Interpreting
Profession." Proceedings of the Conference on the Regulation of Translation and
Interpreting in South Africa. Johannesburg, 1998.
(d) "Towards a strategy for changing attitudes to indigenous African Languages." In
Southern African Review of Education, Vol. 4, PP 5-10.
OKOMBO (1999)
With Githinji wa Chege. E.A.E.P Primary English: Teacher's Guide to Book 6. Nairobi:
East Africa Educational Publishers.
OKOMBO (2000)
''Building techniques in African Languages." In V. Webb and Kembo-Sure (eds), African
Voices: An Introduction to the Languages and Linguistics of Africa. Oxford University
Press
5. UNPUBLISHED SEMINAR/CONFERENCE PAPERS AND RESEARCH REPORTS
5.1 1980
With Eastman, C. "The Functional Structure of Swahili verbs." Read at a Symposium on
African Languages. Yale University
5.2 1986
'The Linguistic Responsibilities of a Cultural Centre.' Read at the Gosi Conference on the
Functions of a Cultural Centre. Migori. Kenya
5.3 1987
'Nuclearization and Denuclearization: Some Conjectures on the Pragmatics Read at the
Pragmatics of Passive and Dative Constructions.' Read at the International Pragmatics
Conference. Antwerp, Belgium'
8
- _. - _.--.- ~--.
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D. Oko/h Oko/11ho, ev 2000200 I
'English in Examinations.' Read at the Workshop on the use of English in Public
Examinations. Shanzu College
5.4 1989
'Reading Culture in a Muiltilingual Nation.' Read at the 1 ,1 CEES Symposium on
Education and Culture. Kikuyu Campus, UON
'Spouse vs. Offspring Orientation Among Luo Women.' Read at the Seminar on Africa
Anthropology and Philosophy. Smithsonian Institution, Washington-DC, U.S.A
5.5 1990
'Linguistic Parameters in Mudimbe's Invention of Africa.' Read at the Seminar on
Mudimbe's Discourse. Rice University U.S.A
'Genealogical Distance and the Componential Analysis of Dhuluo Kinship Terms.' Read
at the 21st Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Georgia, U.S.A
'Involving Universities in Sign Language Research.' Read at the 1 st East, Central and
Southern African Seminar of the Deaf. Thika, Kenya
5.6 1991
'The Language of Oral Communication.' Read at the Nairobi Oral Literature Teachers
Seminar. J.K Memorial Library, Nairobi
'Beware of False Friends in Paris: a Linguistic Appreciation of a First Visit to France:
Prepared for the CREDU Newsletter (to show the kind of problems Anglophone nonFrench-speakers encounter in France).
'Nominal Edocentricity in African Languages: its Implications for Linguistic Theory.'
Read at the 22nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Nairobi, Kenya
6. RESEARCH/PROJECTS IN PROGRESS
(a) The Suba Language Research Project
(b) Kenyan Sign Language Research Project
(c) E.AE.P. Primary English Project
(d) Writing a Linguistics Textbook for African Students (OUP)
7. HONOURS/MERIT AWARDS
(a) 1974
Certificate of Distinguished performance as an SI trainee teacher (Kenyatta College)
9
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D. Okoth Okomho, crr 200012001
(b) 1997
Gandhi Prize for Best Final Year Student (UON, Faculty of AI1S) Shell Prize for Best
Final Year student (UON, Faculty of Arts)
(c) 1992-1995
International President of the Sign Language Scientific Commission of the W orId
Federation of the Deaf (in recognition of my research in the area of Deaf
Communication)
(d) Since 1993
Member (by invitation) of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences'
10
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