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- IU Bloomington
Professor Samuel Obeng received his B.A. (Honors) in Linguistics from the University of Ghana, and his DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy) of Language and Linguistic Science from the University of York, England. His dissertation, which was on socio-phonetics (the pragmatics of prosody) was based on extensive fieldwork in Ghana and was the first linguistic research to extend techniques in conversation analysis to the study of the phonetics of an African language. Obeng examined how conversational participants use such phonetic resources as pitch, loudness, tempo, rhythm, vowel harmony, pausal phenomena, and voice quality to manage such interactional categories as turn taking, turn-non-competitive overlap, interruptive talk, repair, backchannels and side-sequences.
Obeng held an academic position at the University of Ghana (Legon) where he taught phonetics, phonology, morphology and conversational studies. He visited the University of California in Los Angeles as a visiting fellow where he worked with the late world-renowned linguist, Peter Ladefoged, and a leading Africanist linguist, Russ Schuh.
Samuel Obeng was employed at Indiana University in 1994 as an Assistant Professor of Linguistics. In 2000, he was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor, and in 2006, he was promoted to Full Professor of Linguistics. Obeng has, since July 2007, been Director of Indiana University's federally funded African Studies Program. He is also an Adjunct Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University and holds an Adjunct Professorship position at the Center for the Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland, College Park. Obeng has affiliated faculty status at Indiana University's Honors College, the International Studies Program, and Islamic Studies.
Samuel Obeng is the founding editor of Issues in Political Discourse Analysis and Issues in Intercultural Communication. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Africa Today, and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals. In the early 1990s, Obeng served as editor for Papers in Ghanaian Linguistics.
Throughout his career, Obeng has been the recipient of numerous honors, awards and grants including being awarded an Association of Commonwealth Universities Scholarship at the University of York (UK) and being named Distinguished Honorary Member of the African Language Research Project at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the leading Historically Black College in the field of African language research. Obeng's other honors include Visiting Research Fellow at the James S. Coleman African Studies Center, UCLA; Collaborative Research and Creative Activity Funding Award, Indiana University-Bloomington; Trustees Teaching Award, Indiana University; Teaching Excellence Recognition Award, Indiana University; Summer Faculty Fellowship, Indiana University; National Advisory Board Member of the National African Language Resource Center, University of Wisconsin at Madison; Consulting Evaluator of the Michigan State University's Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies; Consulting Evaluator of the University of Pittsburg's African Studies Program and USIFIL Grant Program; Plenary Speaker at the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park; Plenary Speaker at the Southern Interdisciplinary Round Table on African Studies, Kentucky State University, Frankfort; and Radio Teacher for Ghana Broadcasting Corporation's Everyday English and English Language for Junior and Senior Secondary School; and the Founding Radio Host for So W'adwene Hwe, a GBC very popular Akan Radio Quiz Program. Obeng successfully wrote a US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies grant for Indiana University's African Studies Program.
Professor Obeng has been or is a member of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), the African Studies Association, West African Linguistic Society, Linguistic Association of Ghana, African Language Teachers Association, Association of Teachers of Ghanaian Languages, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the International Pragmatics Association, American Name Society, and the Society for Pidgins and Creoles.
Professor Obeng's research interests are in Pragmatics (especially indirectness in political, juridical and informal discourses), Firthian Phonology, Conversational Phonetics, the Linguistic Structure of West African Languages, and West African- and Atlantic English-Based Pidgins and Creoles. He has published over twenty books (written or edited) and over a hundred articles, book reviews, and linguistics abstracts.
Obeng is also a poet and has published two books of poems and several articles on political satire under different pen names in various newspapers and magazines.