By G. Tucker Childs
Delivering an creation to the linguistic examine of African languages, the orientation followed all through this publication is a descriptive-structural-typological one, instead of a formal-theoretical strategy. Formalisms are usually not eschewed according to se yet quite 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 evidence obtainable to the surprising reader. to assert that the strategy is typological implies that a given constitution is in comparison to buildings of an identical variety (typically ones standard to the readers), set inside a longtime diversity of version, and characterised as ordinary or unforeseen. additional aspect can also be supplied, the place attainable, by way of the structure's synchronic distribution and diachronic starting place. The textual content assumes not less than a few wisdom of language constitution at the a part of its readers, yet not anything past that bought in a first-year linguistics direction. The ebook is equipped by means of linguistic area or sub-field inside linguistics, and every of the chapters will be learn independently. Readers can hence learn selectively or learn the e-book sequentially from cover-to-cover. teachers can use the ebook as a textual content for a path in African languages or perhaps language typology. there's beneficiant indexing by means of subject, language and writer; appendix includes prevalent replacement names for the languages mentioned and directs readers to listings within the language index.
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Extra info for An Introduction to African Languages
It allows the inclusion of social and psychological factors into the evaluation, both of which have been claimed to account for a sizable chunk of mutual intelligibility (15% in one estimate (Simons 1979: 186)). , between the Pygmy Efe foragers and the Nilotic Lese farmers (Grinker 1994). For example, speakers of Language A understand speakers of Language B at a rate of 80% but speakers of Language B understand speakers of Language A at a rate of only 60%. Such measures allow insights into social processes and language change, insights absent from a purely structural analysis, ones that allow a more accurate extrapolation from the purely synchronic to the diachronic.
There is even talk of reviving an assumedly dead Khoisan language in South Africa, Khomani, a San language of the southern Kalahari (Traill 1997a: 9). Ethical and political considerations can focus attention on Africa and its languages. During the time of European colonization and before, there were, of course, gross inequities and mass suﬀering on the part of Africans, including slavery. In addition to the last evil, there was the semi-slavery of impressment and forced labor throughout the African continent.
Koelle published grammars of Vai (Koelle 1854c) and Kanuri (Koelle 1854b), two vastly diﬀerent languages, in the same year as the Polyglotta! In his spare time that same year, he also turned out a collection of Kanuri folk tales and proverbs (Koelle 1854a). 14 Typical of this early work, both the quantity and the quality continue to impress modern Africanists. A somewhat later hero is Diedrich Westermann (1875–1956), who did most of his work in the Sudanic area of Africa, from the west coast all the way over to East Africa.
An Introduction to African Languages by G. Tucker Childs