An Introduction to African Languages, Volume 1

Front Cover
John Benjamins Publishing, Jan 1, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 265 pages
This book introduces beginning students and non-specialists to the diversity and richness of African languages. In addition to providing a solid background to the study of African languages, the book presents linguistic phenomena not found in European languages. A goal of this book is to stimulate interest in African languages and address the question: What makes African languages so fascinating? The orientation adopted throughout the book is a descriptive one, which seeks to characterize African languages in a relatively succinct and neutral manner, and to make the facts accessible to a wide variety of readers. The author's lengthy acquaintance with the continent and field experiences in western, eastern, and southern Africa allow for both a broad perspective and considerable depth in selected areas. The original examples are often the author's own but also come from other sources and languages not often referenced in the literature. This text also includes a set of sound files illustrating the phenomena under discussion, be they the clicks of Khoisan, talking drums, or the ideophones (words like English lickety-split) found almost everywhere, which will make this book a valuable resource for teacher and student alike.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The classification of African languages
19
The major language families phyla of Africa
23
The most widely spoken languages of Africa
24
Number of languages in Africa BendorSamuel 1989 Crystal 1995
26
17
40
2878
42
Phonetics and phonology
55
Mandinka sentences with English glosses
92
Tone measurements
93
Morphology
97
Verbal suffixes in Manjaku Karlik 1972
112
Syntax and semantics
117
Zulu ideophones featured in Recording 7
120
Historical and typological issues
153
Greenbergs stages illustrated with examples from Gur NigerCongo
157

Symbols for clicks
58
Clicks and their accompaniments Ladefoged Traill 1994
60
232
72
6768
74
68
75
21
84
Social effects on the languages of Africa
175
Appendices
217
References
223
Index
261
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