By G. Tucker Childs
Supplying an creation to the linguistic learn of African languages, the orientation followed all through this booklet is a descriptive-structural-typological one, in preference to a formal-theoretical technique. Formalisms should not eschewed according to se yet really are invoked after they relief the significant thrust of the e-book, that's to explain and symbolize the languages of Africa in a succinct and concise demeanour, and to make the proof obtainable to the unexpected reader. to claim that the method is typological implies that a given constitution is in comparison to buildings of an identical variety (typically ones widely used to the readers), set inside a longtime variety of edition, and characterised as traditional or unforeseen. extra aspect is usually supplied, the place attainable, when it comes to the structure's synchronic distribution and diachronic beginning. The textual content assumes no less than a few wisdom of language constitution at the a part of its readers, yet not anything past that obtained in a first-year linguistics direction. The booklet is equipped by means of linguistic area or sub-field inside linguistics, and every of the chapters may be learn independently. Readers can therefore learn selectively or learn the ebook sequentially from cover-to-cover. teachers can use the e-book as a textual content for a path in African languages or perhaps language typology. there's beneficiant indexing via subject, language and writer; appendix includes ordinary substitute names for the languages mentioned and directs readers to listings within the language index.
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Additional info for An Introduction to African Languages
Bender 1996a has classiﬁed the languages of Nilo-Saharan into three major types along a continuum: Outlier-Satellite-Core. In Figure 2 the only languages to form a genetic group are the so-called “Core” languages to the right. 1). Most of the names represent families, although For, Berta, Kunama, Gumuz are individual languages. Nilo-Saharan Songhay Saharan Kuliak Maba For Central Sudanic Berta Kunama East Sudanic Koman Gumuz Kado Figure 2. Nilo-Saharan (Bender 1996b, Bender 1996a) The smallest and likely the oldest group is Khoisan, whose languages may not form a single group.
After some background, the several approaches to language classiﬁcation are presented, followed by an introduction to the approach known as “mass comparison” championed by Joseph Greenberg. The next part deals with some of the problems that have arisen, dealing primarily with methodological issues. A few case studies illustrating these problems follow, one at the macro or highest level of classiﬁcation, that of phyla (“family” is also used). The next two studies look at lower level groupings to illustrate ﬁrst how geographical factors have inﬂuenced genetic classiﬁcation and then how a typological feature has also held sway.
Most of the names represent families, although For, Berta, Kunama, Gumuz are individual languages. Nilo-Saharan Songhay Saharan Kuliak Maba For Central Sudanic Berta Kunama East Sudanic Koman Gumuz Kado Figure 2. Nilo-Saharan (Bender 1996b, Bender 1996a) The smallest and likely the oldest group is Khoisan, whose languages may not form a single group. The inclusion of the languages traditionally assigned to Khoisan is not uncontroversial, nor does everyone accept genetic relations between the parts.
An Introduction to African Languages by G. Tucker Childs