Language Grammar

An Introduction to African Languages by G. Tucker Childs

By G. Tucker Childs

Delivering an creation to the linguistic examine of African languages, the orientation followed all through this e-book is a descriptive-structural-typological one, in preference to a formal-theoretical strategy. Formalisms aren't eschewed in step with se yet quite are invoked once they relief the critical thrust of the e-book, that's to explain and symbolize the languages of Africa in a succinct and concise demeanour, and to make the evidence obtainable to the surprising reader. to claim that the strategy is typological implies that a given constitution is in comparison to constructions of an identical sort (typically ones regular to the readers), set inside a longtime diversity of version, and characterised as ordinary or unforeseen. extra element is additionally supplied, the place attainable, when it comes to the structure's synchronic distribution and diachronic foundation. The textual content assumes at the very least a few wisdom of language constitution at the a part of its readers, yet not anything past that received in a first-year linguistics path. The e-book is equipped through linguistic area or sub-field inside of linguistics, and every of the chapters might be learn independently. Readers can therefore learn selectively or learn the e-book sequentially from cover-to-cover. teachers can use the ebook as a textual content for a direction in African languages or maybe language typology. there's beneficiant indexing by way of subject, language and writer; appendix comprises normal substitute names for the languages mentioned and directs readers to listings within the language index.

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Their first two chapters treat the history of African linguistics up to the 1970s (Cole 1971 covers the period up to 1945; Schachter 1971 covers the period after and has some historical interest since it was written at the dawn of the generative era). 13. “Informant” is the name given to someone providing language data to a linguist. Despite its unfortunate associations with betrayal, the term has generally survived efforts to euphemize it; “indispensable collaborator” has definitely not caught on, and “language consultant”, although used, is not nearly so popular.

It was only during the course of the interview that the leatherworker more precisely defined the origins of his family as Soninke (Frank 1995: 144). In the townships of South Africa’s cities, ethnicity is uncertain if not unimportant; some would deny any ethnicity because it smacks of the classifications imposed by the apartheid government. Proclaiming oneself a “South African” can be an affirmation of support for a multiethnic (and multiracial) society. , Calteaux 1994. , Zima 2001. 19 In the sections following I detail some of the methods used in classifying African languages and some of the current controversies in classification.

Not only was he prolific, as were the first two heroes, but he also abandoned the Euro-centric approach of his colleagues for a more locally grounded one. Independently and alone, it seems, Doke had sought what he termed the system of ‘Bantu grammar for Bantu languages’. He had realized, unlike his predecessors in the field, that the grammatical structures of Bantu languages are quite different from those of European languages … In 1927, then, Doke presented a new categorization of Bantu ‘parts of speech’, and appropriate new terminology and descriptive procedures … Doke’s grammatical approach was adopted, with minor variations, in all of the South African universities.

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