A Linguistic Geography of Africa

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More than forty years ago it was demonstrated that the African continent can be divided into four distinct language families. Research on African languages has accordingly been preoccupied with reconstructing and understanding similarities across these families. This has meant that an interest in other kinds of linguistic relationship, such as whether structural similarities and dissimilarities among African languages are the result of contact between these languages, has never been the subject of major research. The aim of this book is to show that such similarities across African languages are more common than is widely believed. It provides a broad perspective on Africa as a linguistic area, as well as an analysis of specific linguistic regions. In order to have a better understanding of African languages, their structures, and their history, more information on these contact-induced relationships is essential in order to understand Africa's linguistic geography, and reconstruct its history and prehistory.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: '… it is a data-driven volume written by experienced Africanists with expertise spanning the continent. … the volume as a whole has the potential to encourage linguists working with apparent genetic units in Africa to consider how areal features contribute to our conceptualisation of 'relatedness' and to re-assess the importance of genetic units in accounting for similarities across languages within a particular geographical area where contact is attested or historically likely.' Journal of Linguistics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521182690
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/2011
  • Series: Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernd Heine is Professor Emeritus of African Studies at the University of Köln, Germany.

Derek Nurse is Henrietta Harvey Research Professor in the Linguistics Department at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

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Table of Contents

List of maps     vii
List of figures     viii
List of tables     ix
List of contributors     xi
Series editor's foreword     xii
Acknowledgments     xiv
Abbreviations     xv
Introduction   Bernd Heine   Derek Nurse     1
Is Africa a linguistic area?   Bernd Heine   Zelealem Leyew     15
Africa as a phonological area   G. N. Clements   Annie Rialland     36
Africa as a morphosyntactic area   Denis Creissels   Gerrit J. Dimmendaal   Zygmunt Frajzyngier   Christa Konig     86
The Macro-Sudan belt: towards identifying a linguistic area in northern sub-Saharan Africa   Tom Guldemann     151
The Tanzanian Rift Valley area   Roland Kiessling   Maarten Mous   Derek Nurse     186
Ethiopia   Joachim Crass   Ronny Meyer     228
The marked-nominative languages of eastern Africa   Christa Konig     251
Africa's verb-final languages   Gerrit J. Dimmendaal     272
Notes     309
References     323
Index     354
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