By Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse
Greater than 40 years in the past it used to be established that the African continent may be divided into 4 detailed language households. study on African languages has as a result been preoccupied with reconstructing and knowing similarities throughout those households. This has intended that an curiosity in other forms of linguistic dating, similar to no matter if structural similarities and dissimilarities between African languages are the results of touch among those languages, hasn't ever been the topic of significant examine. This ebook exhibits that such similarities throughout African languages are extra universal than is greatly believed. It presents a extensive standpoint on Africa as a linguistic quarter, in addition to an research of particular linguistic areas. as a way to have a greater knowing of African languages, their buildings, and their heritage, additional information on those contact-induced relationships is vital to figuring out Africa's linguistic geography, and to reconstructing its background and prehistory.
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Extra info for A linguistic geography of Africa
For these reasons there is little reason to expect any great overall linguistic uniformity. Our preliminary research quickly confirmed that there is no characteristically African phonological property that is common to the continent as a whole, nor even to the vast sub-Saharan region. 1 Six phonological zones in Africa consonants or its tongue-root-based (ATR) vowel harmony, are geographically restricted. In view of this fact, we found it more enlightening to focus our study on properties that are characteristic of smaller, more specific regions.
Recent studies suggest in fact that they are not confined to Niger-Congo but exist also in Khoisan languages (Kilian-Hatz 2003; Ko¨nig 2003); still, the majority of African languages do not qualify as serial verb languages, and such languages are not uncommon in some other parts of the world. With reference to information structure, mention has been made of frontfocusing of nouns by means of some kind of cleft construction, frequently used obligatorily in word questions, where who went? is expressed by who is it who went?
Areal distribution In order to test how our typology survey relates to individual language areas within Africa, we had a closer look at the situation in a particular region characterized by a high degree of genetic diversity, namely northern Nigeria. In the region between the Niger–Benue confluence and Lake Chad there is a multitude of languages belonging to three of the four language phyla of Africa: there are Chadic languages of the Afroasiatic family in the north, the Saharan languages Kanuri and Kanembu of Nilo-Saharan in the northeast, and Niger-Congo languages of the Atlantic, Benue-Congo, and Adamawa branches in the south.
A linguistic geography of Africa by Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse