By Tom Güldemann, Anne-Maria Fehn
Greenberg’s (1954) suggestion of a ‘Khoisan’ language relatives, whereas heartily embraced via non-specialists, has been harshly criticized through linguists engaged on those languages. proof for Greenberg's speculation has proved to be heavily inadequate and little development has been made within the intervening years in substantiating his declare via the traditional comparative approach. This quantity is going past “Khoisan” within the linguistic feel by means of exploring a extra advanced background that comes with a number of and common occasions of language touch in southern Africa epitomized within the areal thought ‘Kalahari Basin’. The papers contained herein current new info on languages from all 3 proper lineages, Tuu, Kx’a and Khoe-Kwadi, complemented by means of non-linguistic examine from molecular and cultural anthropology. A recurrent subject is to disentangle genealogical and areal ancient family members — a big problem for historic linguistics regularly. The multi-disciplinary procedure mirrored during this quantity strengthens the speculation that Greenberg’s “Southern African Khoisan” is healthier defined when it comes to advanced linguistic, cultural and genetic convergence.
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Extra info for Beyond 'Khoisan': Historical Relations in the Kalahari Basin
Grammatical gender referring to sex) can be the result of parallel independent development. Today, this type of investigation is oriented to individual features, but sometimes languages can be similar with respect to a larger set of features establishing more holistic language types. Applying the latter approach to Khoisan in southern Africa one can identify a basic structural split of Khoe-Kwadi vs. the other two Khoisan language groups in southern Africa, called for convenience ‘Non-Khoe’. Some relevant features are listed in Table 4 (cf.
This approach does not alter the segments’ status as shared and rare. 21 22 Tom Güldemann appropriate amount of indeterminate contact (and borrowing) between Khoe groups and San groups and thereafter any degree of dispersal. The problem with this proposal is that it is almost impossible to constrain it sufficiently to avoid empirical vacuousness. Since Traill’s study, several concrete contact scenarios in the Kalahari Basin have been proposed; these ARE constrained and thus empirically testable and, when taken together, would be capable of explaining widely distributed isoglosses across the entire area (cf.
Kwadi has a considerably deviant structure, but there is sufficient evidence available to assume that it is genealogically related to the Khoe languages (Güldemann 2004b, 2010a; Güldemann & Elderkin 2010). In particular, Kwadi has a system of person-gender-number marking that shows a number of cognates with Proto-Khoe markers as well as strong lexical affinities providing potential cognate sets with several likely sound changes. More detailed historical-comparative work is still to be done, however.
Beyond 'Khoisan': Historical Relations in the Kalahari Basin by Tom Güldemann, Anne-Maria Fehn