Bonny Sands: Eastern and Southern African Khoisan – Evaluating Claims of Distant Linguistic Relationships [PDF]


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QKF Research in Khoisan Studies Volume 14

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251 pp.
1 map, 5 graphs, 56 tables, appendix with 100 word lists of English, !Xóo, !Xu, Korana, Nama, Nharo, Proto-Central Khoisan, Hadza, Sandawe, Dahalo, Xhosa and Zulu

Text language: English

The intern sub-grouping of Khoisan languages was up to now problematic due to the lack of data and the partially distant or questionable relations between the different languages. In the present study Bonny Sands develops a model for the comparison of eastern and southern African Khoisan languages whose intention does not lie in a polar yes/no answer regarding genetic affiliation and sub-grouping, but an inside in grade and nature of similarities between the languages in question. The model is based on the statistical analysis of a 100-word list, on lexeme comparison by means of an extended list containing core vocabulary as well as synonyms.

Furthermore, words from certain semantic fields were compared in order to uncover similarities between lexemes which underwent a semantic shift in the course of language development. The noun class system, too, was part of the study, founded on the hypothesis that the nominal root originally had the structure CV in all Khoisan languages, from which follows that all other sound sequences in nouns are traces of nominal classes. Subsequently, suppletives and synonyms are compared. A test with regard to regular sound correspondences completes the tests.

The value of the work lies, among other things in the complete data material on which the comparison is based. Sources so far inaccessible were taken into consideration. Data from the author’s own fieldwork on Hadza also influenced the description.

Under these links you will find publications by the author and further reconstructions of Khoisan languages:

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