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By Roger Blench

Archaeology, Language, and the African Past is an outline of theories and techniques, a fusion of African linguistics and archaeology. Roger Blench offers a finished examine the heritage of all African language households, incorporating the most recent linguistic classifications, present proof from archaeology, genetic study, and recorded background. This unique and definitive quantity examines the commercial tradition of the continent―from significant vegetation and vegetation to animals and livestock―from a multi-dimensional viewpoint. It presents scholars of linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology with a severe dialogue at the background of African languages and the cultures they articulate.

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However, it is for Bantu that lexicostatistics seems to have been most alluring. g. Henrici 1973, Bastin & Piron 1999; Bastin, Coupez & Mann 1999). A fifth columnist that very often accompanies lexicostatistics is glottochronology, the notion that languages change at a standard rate, so regular that by applying a formula to lexicostatistical results, the approximate ages of language families can be estimated. William Wotton (1730) had the idea of calculating how rapidly languages change by comparing ancient texts of known date with the modern form of those languages.

The interest of morphology is not purely formal, but also provides pointers to how people think, to their cognitive structures. Their persistence over many millennia show that there are deep-rooted ways of ordering the world in Africa that can be reconstructed far into prehistory. In Niger-Congo languages, many nounclass affixes also act to denote meaning. Affixes may signal rather obvious categories, such as humans, animals, mass nouns such as ‘water’ or ‘oil’ and also more subtle ideas such as ‘long and thin’ or 24 Reconstructing the African past: Roger Blench.

Pot with a very large rim. màngè bùrù Bride's pot. màngègegé Place where pots are kept. màngèta Ink-pot, no longer in use màngègi tàdáwa Bride's pot. màngègi yàwǒ Clay fire-pot. nãSì Source: own fieldwork Much the same is true of iron-working. Iron-working seems to develop first in sub-Saharan Africa in the middle of the first millennium BC, based on Taruga in Central Nigeria with rather earlier dates in the Sahara at the Massif du Termit, back to 3300 BP (Cornevin 1993; see also a review in Holl 1997).

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Archaeology, Language, and the African Past by Roger Blench


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