Download A linguistic geography of Africa by Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse PDF

By Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse

Greater than 40 years in the past it used to be established that the African continent should be divided into 4 certain language households. examine on African languages has consequently been preoccupied with reconstructing and knowing similarities throughout those households. This has intended that an curiosity in other forms of linguistic courting, similar to even if structural similarities and dissimilarities between African languages are the results of touch among those languages, hasn't ever been the topic of significant learn. This publication exhibits that such similarities throughout African languages are extra universal than is generally believed. It offers a vast standpoint on Africa as a linguistic quarter, in addition to an research of particular linguistic areas. as a way to have a greater figuring out of African languages, their buildings, and their heritage, additional information on those contact-induced relationships is vital to knowing Africa's linguistic geography, and to reconstructing its historical past and prehistory.

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Extra info for A linguistic geography of Africa

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The reason for doing so is the following: the main goal of this chapter is to find out whether African languages resemble one another more than they resemble other languages and what factors can be held responsible for such resemblances. To be sure, clicks occur in three of the four African language phyla, not only in all Khoisan languages, but also in South African Bantu (Niger-Congo) languages, and in the Cushitic (Afroasiatic) language Dahalo; still, their occurrence is geographically restricted to southern Africa and three East African languages.

Just as importantly, a closer study of ‘‘variation space’’ across African languages shows that it is not homogeneous, as some combinations of properties tend to cluster together in genetically unrelated languages while other imaginable combinations are rare or unattested, even in single groups; crosslinguistic variation of this sort is of central interest to the study of linguistic universals and typology. A further important reason for studying phonological patterns in Africa is the light they shed upon earlier population movements and linguistic change through contact.

Building on the work of Greenberg (1959) and Larochette (1959), Meeussen (1975) presented an impressive list of what he called “Africanisms,” that is, phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical properties widely found in African languages across genetic boundaries. 3 below). Another seminal work on areal relationship was published by Greenberg in 1983. He defined areal properties “as those which are either exclusive to Africa, though not found everywhere within it, or those which are especially common in Africa although not confined to that continent” (Greenberg 1983: 3).

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