1 map, numerous tables, 1 folding table
Text language: English
This monograph is the first comparative etymological dictionary offered for a sub-group (Great Lakes Bantu, Uganda / Rwanda / Tanzania) of African languages which includes a full accounting of that sub-group’s linguistic and ethnographic sources. Whereas previous works have concentrated fruitfully on different aspects of comparative reconstruction (Nurse/Hinnebusch 1993, Ehret 1995, Guthrie 1967–1971, Meeussen 1980), this work makes arguments about the semantic histories of some 400 words based on the widest possible collection of words and meanings from 20th century sources.
This wide collecting allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about semantic changes and their linguistic and social determinants. It will thus form an important source both for the language history of Bantu-speaking Africa and for the social history of Bantu-speakers. It constitutes the largest single repository of language evidence for Great Lakes Bantu, a subgroup of some 54 languages spoken around Lake Victoria and in the Kivu Rift Valley. Speakers of Great Lakes Bantu undertook major historical projects including the development of mixed farming, specializations in intensive banana farming and pastoralism, the early production of iron, and the creation of elaborate kingdoms. It will serve also as a point of reference for other researchers working elsewhere in Bantu-speaking Africa.