About Me

Rebecca Grollemund

Assistant Professor

Department of English

University of Missouri


I am an historical linguist who uses quantitative methods to classify languages in order to better understand the human history. My research covers the description, classification and history of African languages spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular interest in Bantoid and Bantu languages.


2022-2025 NSF

I have just been awarded a NSF grant (Award No. BCS-2152822) entitled “Continuity and divergence in Cameroonian languages: New perspectives on the Bantu genesis” (budget: $420,183) to work on Bantu and Bantoid languages spoken in Cameroon. Co-I Guanyu Hu (University of Missouri, Department of Statistics). More information here.

2022 Award

Recipient of the 2022 Provost’s Jr. Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award

In prep. for 2023

Co-Edited book on Bantoid and Bantu languages in Cameroon with my awesome colleagues Derek Nurse and John Watters.

May 2019

Co-organisation of a workshop entitled “Languages of Cameroon” with my great colleagues Derek Nurse and John Watters during the 50th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 50), Vancouver, 23-25 May 2019

September 2017

Our book Relative Clauses in Cameroonian Languages – Structure, Function and Semantics is finally out! More information here.

May 2017

Publication in Science with my colleagues Etienne Patin and Lluis Quintana-Murci (from Paris) of the paper entitled Dispersals and genetic adaptation of Bantu-speaking populations in Africa and North America‘. Read the paper here.

African Interdisciplinary Studies Hub

Invited talk at the African Interdisciplinary Studies Hub, University of Missouri.

ASH Scholars

Funding (2016-pres) of the project “Documenting Luyia Together: Varieties of the Luyia language cluster of western Kenya“, co-directed by Michael Marlo and Rebecca Grollemund, University of Missouri. Read more about it here.

University of Missouri

First visit at the University of Missouri (in Columbia, MO).

September 2015

Publication of the paper “Bantu expansion shows that habitat alters the route and pace of human dispersals“, in the journal PNAS (volume 112, no. 43). You can access to the article here.

June 2015

Publication of the paper “Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa” in the journal Current Anthropology.

September 2014

Co-organisation of the workshop “Language diversity and history: new interdisciplinary perspectives” with my colleagues from the University of Reading (Evolutionary Biology Group): Annemarie Verkerk and Simon Branford during the 47th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE).

October 2013

Publication of the paper “Climate-induced vegetation dynamics and the Bantu expansion: evidence from Bantu names for pioneer trees (Elaeis guineensis, Canarium schweinfurthii and Musanga cecropioides)

June 2013

Co-organisation of the workshop “New interdisciplinary perspectives on Bantu expansion” with Jean-Marie Hombert, within the Conference Bantu 5 (5th International Conference on Bantu Languages) in Paris.