Beyond 'Khoisan': Historical Relations in the Kalahari Basin by Tom Güldemann, Anne-Maria Fehn

By Tom Güldemann, Anne-Maria Fehn

Greenberg’s (1954) idea of a ‘Khoisan’ language relatives, whereas heartily embraced by means of non-specialists, has been harshly criticized by way of linguists engaged on those languages. proof for Greenberg's speculation has proved to be heavily inadequate and little development has been made within the intervening years in substantiating his declare through the traditional comparative strategy. This quantity is going past “Khoisan” within the linguistic feel by way of exploring a extra advanced heritage that comes with a number of and common occasions of language touch in southern Africa epitomized within the areal idea ‘Kalahari Basin’. The papers contained herein current new information on languages from all 3 appropriate lineages, Tuu, Kx’a and Khoe-Kwadi, complemented through non-linguistic learn from molecular and cultural anthropology. A recurrent subject matter is to disentangle genealogical and areal ancient kinfolk — a tremendous problem for old linguistics generally. The multi-disciplinary process mirrored during this quantity strengthens the speculation that Greenberg’s “Southern African Khoisan” is best defined by way of advanced linguistic, cultural and genetic convergence.

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Güldemann (1998b), surveying such typological parameters as head/dependent marking, complexity, alignment, clausal word order, inclusive/exclusive pronouns, inalienable/alienable possession, noun classification and valence changes, called this the ‘Kalahari Basin’ area. The features characterising Khoisan in southern Africa as a whole against Bantu languages outside the area, which are listed below, are indeed of a general typological nature rather than define a genealogical unit (Güldemann 1998b, 2013; Güldemann & Fehn, forthcoming).

Concerning the Ju branch, Lionnet’s paper “Demonstrative and relative constructions in Ju: A diachronic account” provides modern evidence for the likely types of demonstrative and relative constructions in Proto-Ju – an important step towards the syntactic reconstruction of this language complex. aqriaxe (ǂ’Amkoe) spatial terms from a genealogical and areal perspective” looks at the history of spatial terms in ǂ’Amkoe, in particular at their grammaticalisation development, and compares the results with similar phenomena in both the related Ju branch and the unrelated contact languages Gǀui and Taa.

3). Proto-Tuu and Proto-Kx’a have similar systems in that they both distinguish three persons, two numbers (it is unclear whether the 3rd person dual form in Ju goes back to Proto-Kx’a), and clusivity in the 1st person. Moreover, it is possible that both proto-languages had a gender distinction encoded in 3rd person forms which was not sensitive to sex; one would have to assume that ǂ’Amkoe lost this feature after splitting off from its sister branch Ju. In contrast, Khoe-Kwadi is reconstructed with a so-called minimal-augmented system, which has a very different organisation of person and number categories (see Corbett 2000: 166–169 for a short overview), and a morphological opposition between simplex forms for speech-act participants and complex forms for 3rd persons, whereby the latter convey a distinction in number and sex-based gender by means of suffixes/clitics.

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