Sinfree Makoni

Sinfree Makoni

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and African Studies

305 Sparks Building

Phone: (814) 863-2431


Office Hours:

  • Fridays 10am-12pm
Area(s) of Specialization: Language policy and planning, Security studies, Language and health, Southern epistemologies and ontologies


Sinfree B. Makoni grew up in southern Africa. He earned his first degree at the University of Ghana, in Legon, Accra. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He has held a number of professional positions in universities in southern Africa, including the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. He currently teaches in the Department of Applied Linguistics and in the African Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University, USA. He has recently held visiting research professorships at a number of universities, including most recently at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. He is currently Extraordinary Professor at the University of the North West in South Africa and is an Andrew Carnegie Diaspora Fellow at Laikipia University in Kenya. His main research areas of interest are language policy and planning, security studies, and language and health. He is expanding his interests in language policy and planning into the area of Southern Epistemologies and Ontologies. He has recently co-authored a book on Southern Epistemologies with Alastair Pennycook, titled Innovations and Challenges in Applied Linguistics from the Global South (Routledge), which is a development of their previous work on the “Disinvention of Language,” published in an edited volume, Disinvention and Reconstituting Language (Multilingual Matters, 2007). His work has had a substantial impact on ways in which notions about language, language policy, and language rights are framed and understood in Applied Linguistics. He is one of the most renowned Applied Linguistics scholars from Africa, studying Africa in both Africa and on the global stage.