Historical Linguistics and the Comparative Study of African Languages

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John Benjamins Publishing, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 421 pages
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This advanced historical linguistics course book deals with the historical and comparative study of African languages. The first part functions as an elementary introduction to the comparative method, involving the establishment of lexical and grammatical cognates, the reconstruction of their historical development, techniques for the subclassification of related languages, and the use of language-internal evidence, more specifically the application of internal reconstruction. Part II addresses language contact phenomena and the status of language in a wider, cultural-historical and ecological context. Part III deals with the relationship between comparative linguistics and other disciplines. In this rich course book, the author presents valuable views on a number of issues in the comparative study of African languages, more specifically concerning genetic diversity on the African continent, the status of pidginised and creolised languages, language mixing, and grammaticalisation.
 

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Contents

Part I The comparative method
1
1 Explaining similarities
3
2 Explaining sound change
23
3 Classification and subclassification techniques
59
4 Morphosyntactic changes
93
5 Semantic change
115
6 Internal reconstruction
141
7 Languageinternal variation
153
11 Language contraction and language shift
253
12 Language contact phenomena and genetic classification
265
Part III Studying language change in a wider contex
281
13 Language typology and reconstruction
283
14 Remote relationships and genetic diversity on the African continent
307
15 Language and history
333
16 Some ecological properties of language development
347
References
373

Part II The linguistic manifestation of contact
177
8 Borrowing
179
9 Pidginisation and creolisation
213
10 Syncretic languages
237

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