Christa König / Bernd Heine / Karsten Legère / Ingo Heine: The Akie Language of Tanzania [PDF]


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Texts and Dictionary

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14 pp. Roman, 332 pp.
88 col. photographs, 1 drawing

Text language: English

There are few traditional hunter-gatherer societies left in the world. The Akie of the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania are one of them. The Akie call themselves akie (sg. akiántee) and their language kuuti táá akie (‘mouth of the Akie people’). The Akie inhabit the Kilindi District of Tanga Region and the Kiteto and Simanjiro Districts of Manyara Region of north-central Tanzania. Most of their homesteads are located in the mountaneous regions at the periphery of villages, and they are claimed to have been living in this general area long before all their neighbors arrived.

The Akie language is a member of the Kalenjin language cluster, which belongs to the Southern Nilotic branch of the Nilotic language family. The latter has been classified as belonging to the Eastern Sudanic branch of the Nilo-Saharan phylum, a genetic unit which was proposed by Greenberg (1963) but is not entirely uncontroversial. The language is endangered (Heine et al. 2014; 2015a), there are hardly more than 250 speakers left. Jointly with the grammatical treatment of the Akie language that was presented earlier (König et al. 2015a), this study is intended to contribute to the documentation of the language and their culture.

The main objective of the project – sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation – was to video-record the use of and the knowledge that the Akie have about their language. The texts presented in Part 4 constitute only a selection of all the texts collected in the course of our research. The lexical treatment in Parts 5 and 6 are not conceived as a comprehensive dictionary. Nevertheless, an attempt was made to document as much as possible of the cultural knowledge as it surfaces from the lexical resources found in our collection of Akie texts.