By G. Tucker Childs
Offering an creation to the linguistic learn of African languages, the orientation followed all through this e-book is a descriptive-structural-typological one, in preference to a formal-theoretical process. Formalisms will not be eschewed in step with se yet relatively are invoked after they relief the principal 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 unexpected reader. to assert that the method is typological implies that a given constitution is in comparison to constructions of an analogous style (typically ones popular to the readers), set inside of a longtime variety of edition, and characterised as traditional or unforeseen. additional element can be supplied, the place attainable, when it comes to the structure's synchronic distribution and diachronic beginning. 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 got in a first-year linguistics direction. The e-book is prepared through linguistic area or sub-field inside of linguistics, and every of the chapters will be learn independently. Readers can therefore learn selectively or learn the ebook sequentially from cover-to-cover. teachers can use the ebook as a textual content for a path in African languages or perhaps language typology. there's beneficiant indexing via subject, language and writer; appendix comprises everyday substitute names for the languages mentioned and directs readers to listings within the language index.
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Extra resources for An Introduction to African Languages
I now turn to some historical background to the present-day study of African languages. 9. This last area is the preference of African scholars. At the 1st World Congress of African Linguistics (1994), “[T]he predominant interests of overseas linguists … were mainly theoretical and descriptive, and the interests of African scholars … were pragmatic and applied” (Herbert 1997: xi). 2 Historical background to the study of African languages A famous scholar of African history was quoted as saying, “The curse of African studies is that it is limited to Africa” (Hair 1975, as quoted in Dalby 1975: 46).
As suggested above, theories have not “fragmented” the ﬁeld; there has always been a full integration of data, description, analysis, and theory in African linguistics. Within the ﬁeld of linguistics itself, however, there has been something of a sub-ﬁeld imbalance with regard to what was being researched. Roughly speaking, there has been more work done on phonetics, phonology, and even morphology, than on syntax, semantics, pragmatics, etc. The reasons for this imbalance are not hard to understand.
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. 4): Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Afroasiatic, and Khoisan, with NigerCongo containing more than two-thirds of the 2,000 or so languages spoken on the continent (Bendor-Samuel 1989: vi). It must be remembered that from a classiﬁcatory standpoint, all phyla are equal, despite diﬀerences in size.
An Introduction to African Languages by G. Tucker Childs