LHL 16: Introduction to African Linguistics

LHL 16: Introduction to African Linguistics

Artikel-Nr.: ISBN 9783895866753
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Introduction to African Linguistics

Ngessimo Mutaka; with the collaboration of Pius Ngwa Tamanji
University of Yaoundé

An Introduction to African Linguistics is a book which deals with the main features of languages as found mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and more particularly in Bantu languages.

As mentioned by one of the authors, "one motivation for writing the book is that, during my graduate studies, I always wished I had access to an introductory book of this nature. Very often, Doug Pulleyblank or Larry Hyman would refer me to certain phonological processes found in some African languages, and I thought it would be helpful if students of African linguistics could have easier access to such examples in an introductory book on African Linguistics. My hope is that this book will prove interesting not only for most linguistics students but also for any linguist or any linguistic sympathizer who will find in this book precious information scattered in various published and unpublished materials not easily accessible.”

Maybe, what renders the book most unique is the three chapters on Phonology: chapter 3: non tonal phonological processes, chapter 4: tonological processes, chapter 5: exercises on phonological processes. These chapters basically encapsulate the richness of African phonology made available in one single introductory volume. Other chapters are equally interesting. Thus chapter 8, "Notes on the historical linguistics of African languages,” provides background material on African languages; chapter 7, "the Syntax of African languages,” provides an easy-to-understand explanation of syntactic terms and their illustrations through various African languages. This chapter is a contribution of Pius N. Tamanji together with the sections on "lexical expansion” in chapter 10, "verbal extensions,”and "tense, aspect and mood” in chapter 6.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Classification of African languages
1.0 Preliminaries: two types of classification - typological or structural classification - genealogical classification
1.1 Guthrie's classification
1.2 Greenberg's classification
1.2.1 Westermann's eastern and western sudanic languages
1.2.2 Greenberg's classification
1.2.3 Notes on Niger-Kordofanian
1.2.4 Greenberg's methodology
1.2.5 Why is Bantu part of Niger-Kongo?
1.3 Earlier classifications
1.4 Some recent proposals of classifications
1.5 Classifications of Cameroonian languages in ALCAM
1.6 About genetic classifications

Chapter 2: Sound systems of African languages: phonetics
2.1 Vowel characteristics of African languages
2.1.0 Vowel chart
2.1.1 Symmetrical vowel systems
2.1.2 Allophonic variation
2.1.3 Vowel length
2.1.4 Phoneme nasalization
2.1.5 Vowel harmony
2.1.6 Vowel elision
2.1.7 Vowel coalescence
2.2 Consonant characteristics of African languages
2.2.0 Consonant chart of African languages
2.2.1 Doubly-articulated stops
2.2.2 Aspirated consonants
2.2.3 Palatal release
2.2.4 Implosives
2.25 Glottal stops
2.2.6 Clicks
2.2.7 Nasal + consonant sequences
2.2.8 Geminates in Luganda
2.3 Further characteristics of Bantu languages

Chapter 3: Non tonal phonological processes
3.1 Vowel harmony
3.2 Nasalization
3.3 Reduplication
3.4 Compensatory lengthening
3.5 Penultimate lengthening
3.6 Syllabification
3.7 Segment deletion/insertion
3.8 Vowel coalescence
3.9 Gliding
3.10 Assimilation
3.11 Dahl's law
3.12 Vowel height transfer
3.13 Voicing
3.14 Aspiration
3.15 Implosion
3.16 Glottalization
3.17 Palatalization
3.18 Velarization/labialization
3.19 Floating non tonal features
3.20 Imbrication
3.21 The mora as a prosodic unit

Chapter 4: Tonological processes
4.1 Tone groups
4.2 Floating tones
4.4 V2 linking
4.5 Meeussen's rule
4.6 Stevick's rule
4.7 Downstep
4.8 Upstep
4.9 Latent High tone
4.10 Tone retraction
4.11 Effect of depressor consonants
4.12 Some tonological processes in phrasal phonology
4.13 Edge-in association

Chapter 5: Exercises on phonological processes

Chapter 6: Morphology
6.1 The structure of the Bantu noun
6.2 The structure of the verb
6.3 Verbal extensions
6.4 Tense, aspect and mood

Chapter 7: The Syntax of African Languages
7.1 Syntactic categories.
7.2 Phrases, trees and rules.
7.3 Transformations and derived structures.
7.4 Agreement in sentence structure.
7.5 Summary and Conclusion

Chapter 8: Notes on historical linguistics
8.1 Notes on the history of work on African languages
8.2 Language reconstructions
8.3 Sound changes from Proto-Bantu

Chapter 9: Trade languages, pidgins, and creoles
9.1 Definitions and exemplifications - Trade language - Pidgin - Creole
9.2 Pidgin English of Cameroon (PEC)

Chapter 10: Further issues in African linguistics
10.1 Lexical expansion in African languages
10.2 Glottochronology (or lexicostatistics)
10.3 Dialectometry
10.4 Linguistic geography

ISBN 9783895866753. LINCOM Handbooks in Linguistics 16. 323pp. 2000.

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