By Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse
Greater than 40 years in the past it used to be established that the African continent will be divided into 4 detailed language households. examine on African languages has hence been preoccupied with reconstructing and figuring out similarities throughout those households. This has intended that an curiosity in different kinds of linguistic dating, comparable to no matter if structural similarities and dissimilarities between African languages are the results of touch among those languages, hasn't ever been the topic of significant examine. This booklet indicates that such similarities throughout African languages are extra universal than is broadly believed. It presents a large standpoint on Africa as a linguistic zone, in addition to an research of particular linguistic areas. with the intention to have a greater knowing of African languages, their constructions, and their background, additional information on those contact-induced relationships is vital to figuring out Africa's linguistic geography, and to reconstructing its heritage and prehistory.
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Additional resources for A linguistic geography of Africa
Is Africa a linguistic area? 2 Relative frequency of occurrence of eleven typological properties in African languages (sample: 99 languages. 5 (b) Outside Africa, no language has been found to have as many as five properties, while African languages have between five and ten properties. There are a few exceptions, to be discussed below. (c) While the African area can be set off from the rest of the world, it seems that there is also a worldwide north/south division: languages of the southern hemisphere have clearly more of the properties than languages of the northern hemisphere.
On account of (b), the presence of these features must be the result of language contact. This characterization is fairly general, it is not meant to be a definition; rather, it is used as a convenient discovery device for identifying possible instances of Is Africa a linguistic area? 17 sprachbunds. Note that this characterization does not address crucial problems that have been raised in the relevant literature, for example, how many languages and how many features (or properties or traits) are minimally required, whether these features should be shared by all languages, whether individual features should not occur in languages outside the sprachbund, whether the languages should really be geographically contiguous, whether the languages should belong to different genetic groupings, to what extent isoglosses of features need to bundle, how factors such as the ones just mentioned influence the strength of a sprachbund hypothesis, or whether sprachbunds have any historical reality beyond the linguistic generalizations proposed by the researchers concerned.
Evans & Wilkins 1998 for evidence on Australian languages). Another area where Africa provides a wide range of common properties concerns grammaticalization processes, whereby the same conceptual schemas and constructions are employed to develop grammatical categories. e. the use of a verb meaning either ‘defeat,’ ‘surpass,’ or ‘pass’ to express comparison (Meeussen 1975: 4; Greenberg 1983: 4; Gilman 1986: 39). 4. Furthermore, there is a grammaticalization process involving verbs for ‘say’ which are widely grammaticalized to quotatives, complementizers, purpose clause markers, etc.
A linguistic geography of Africa by Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse