Archaeology, Language, and the African Past by Roger Blench

By Roger Blench

Archaeology, Language, and the African Past is an outline of theories and techniques, a fusion of African linguistics and archaeology. Roger Blench offers a finished examine the heritage of all African language households, incorporating the newest linguistic classifications, present proof from archaeology, genetic learn, and recorded background. This unique and definitive quantity examines the commercial tradition of the continent―from significant plants and flowers to animals and livestock―from a multi-dimensional viewpoint. It presents scholars of linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology with a serious dialogue at the historical past of African languages and the cultures they articulate.

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137 earth, country, land, ashes, down, dust, mud, sand, charcoal Ehret (2001) No. 1129 husk, shell, fur, to slide under, to shovel up, hair pulled out in fright, tweezers, hair, feather, to remove No. 1134 to descend, to deflate, to be asleep, to trim lamp No. 1262 to drip, blood, sap, cold, cataract, tear, river, dew Source: Blench (2002) The point here is that if these ideas are related, the words are cognate and the sound-correspondences thus regular. Semantics and regularity exist in a circular relationship; if you find lexical items you think are cognate, then you set up a tentative sound-law.

Outside Niger-Congo, Chadic has been covered by Newman & Newman (1966), Newman (1977) and Jungraithmayr & Ibriszimow (1995), while Nicolai (1981) laid the ground for a comparative Songhay. More general approaches include Williamson (1988) on river technology, Blench (1989, 1993a,b, 1994/5, 1995a, 1997c, 1999b, 2000a, 2001a, 2003a) and the multi-volume studies by Bahuchet (1992, 1993) of the languages spoken by pygmy groups and their interactions. For north Africa, the studies on comparative lexis of Berber by Naït-Zerrad (1998, 1999, 2002) 21 Reconstructing the African past: Roger Blench.

Complex morphophonemic processes can lead to unusual correspondences, but the linguist proposing them will need to put up a much stronger argument for such developments to be credible. Morphological reconstruction Apart from lexical items, historical linguistics in Africa has placed considerable emphasis on the reconstruction of morphology. Most African languages have extensive morphological systems, and some are so complex that their description is still disputed. Western Nilotic languages such as Dinka and Shilluk have lost much of the segmental morphology while retaining the tone; even after many attempts by different scholars, they remain intractable.

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