Project MUSE - Historical linguistics and the comparative study of African languages (review) | African Cultural News | Scoop.it

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
As indicated by the title, this important new work attempts to wed the traditional field of historical linguistics with the comparative study of African languages. This is a particularly welcome effort by one of the world's most distinguished scholars in African linguistics. Although most of Gerrit Dimmendaal's research has centered around Nilotic and adjacent areas of East Africa, much of which he cites, D makes a serious effort to treat other areas and linguistic groups from throughout the continent. The result is an impressive reference work that students and scholars alike will want to own and consult. D's coverage of issues is extensive, as he addresses not only linguistic reconstruction and language classification, but also issues that arise in the study of language in context. As a result one gets a feel not only for the forms and where they come from, but also for how they are actually used in various African communities. The over thirty pages of references (373-406) further attest to the serious scholarship that went into the production of this work.

Although there have been recent books introducing African linguistics (Heine & Nurse 2000, Mutaka & Tamanji 2000, Childs 2003), areal linguistics (Heine & Nurse 2008), and language history (Blench 2006), D's goal in writing this book is quite unique. As he states in the preface, his original intention was to produce a historical linguistics textbook drawing mostly from African languages, wishing especially to target 'many students in African countries [who] do not have access to more recent developments in historical-comparative linguistics or to the literature published on language families in their home countries' (ix).


Via Charles Tiayon