History and the Testimony of Language

Overview


This book is about history and the practical power of language to reveal historical change. Christopher Ehret offers a methodological guide to applying language evidence in historical studies. He demonstrates how these methods allow us not only to recover the histories of time periods and places poorly served by written documentation, but also to enrich our understanding of well-documented regions and eras. A leading historian as well as historical linguist of Africa, Ehret provides in-depth examples from the ...
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History and the Testimony of Language

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Overview


This book is about history and the practical power of language to reveal historical change. Christopher Ehret offers a methodological guide to applying language evidence in historical studies. He demonstrates how these methods allow us not only to recover the histories of time periods and places poorly served by written documentation, but also to enrich our understanding of well-documented regions and eras. A leading historian as well as historical linguist of Africa, Ehret provides in-depth examples from the language phyla of Africa, arguing that his comprehensive treatment can be applied by linguistically trained historians and historical linguists working with any language and in any area of the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal Of African History - Neil Kodesh

“[A] valuable book which deserves to assume its rightful position as required reading for students and scholars of American history.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520262041
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/17/2010
  • Series: California World History Library
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Christopher Ehret is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of many books, including Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic (UC Press), An African Classical Age, and, most recently, The Civilizations of Africa.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgments xi

Part 1 Evidence and Method

1 Methods and Myths 3

2 Writing History from Linguistic Evidence 22

3 Historical Inference from Transformations in the Vocabularies of Culture 51

4 Historical Inference from Word Borrowing 82

5 Linguistic Dating 105

Part 2 Applications

6 History in the Sahara: Society and Economy in the Early Holocene 135

7 Social Transformation in the Horn of Africa, 500 BCE to 500 CE 170

8 Recovering the History of Extinct Societies: A Case Study from East Africa 185

9 Cultural Diffusion in the Atlantic Age: American Crops in Eastern Africa 221

Appendix 1 Outline Classification of Afrasian (Afroasiatic): Diagnostic Branch Innovations 249

Appendix 2 Proto-Afrasian and Proto-Erythraic Subsistence 251

Appendix 3 Development of Nilo-Saharan Lexicons of Herding and Cultivation 253

Appendix 4 Interpreting the Ethiosemitic Cognation Matrix 256

Appendix 5 Cushitic Loanwords in Ethiosemitic Core Vocabulary 261

Index 265

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