2 General Information According to Ethnoloque 1,532 languages → largest phylum in the worldOccupies larger area than any other African phylumsubclassifications has been continuously modifiedlarge number of languagesinaccessibility of much of the datalack of able researchers
3 Classification 1 Kordofanian Kordofanian as fist branch →lexical evidence for uniting with Niger-Congo languages is poorKordofanian are most poorly documented languages within Niger-CongoSmall languagesSpoken in Nuba mountains (Rep. of Sudan)Many have been replace by political insecurity
4 Greenberg: 5 groups of languages, grouped together as Kordofanian assigned them to Niger-Congo Schadeberg (1981c) removed Kadugli-Krongo/Kadu from Kordofanian, added it to Nilo-Saharian→ 4 remaining groups classified by Schadeberg (1989)
5 Schadeberg showed that the noun class affixed correspond in a regular way to those of the rest of Niger-CongoSchadeberg (1989)
6 2 MandeExtend over greater part of the western half of West Africa (Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, also in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauretania, Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria)10 to 12 million speakersOver 50% speak MandingMost classifications based on lexicostatistics→ problems pointed out by Kastenholz (1991/2)→ studied lexical innovations to gain improved classification
7 Mande as part of Niger-Congo Dwyer(1998): Excamination of 603 comparative lexical entries→leads to table of cognatesFrom: Dwyer.(1998) The place of Mande in Niger-Congo. In: Language History and Linguistic Description in Africa. Maddison, Hinnebush (Editors.).
8 Niger-Congo Cognate Types: Total Set examined: 603Probable cognates: 187Likely cognates: 124Possible cognates: 128Conclusion:Western Nigrit, Benue-Congo and Mande are lexically related→lexical coherence
9 (West-Atlantic in Westermann’s classification) Spoken along Atlantic coastline of West AfricaLargest languages:Fulfulde (several million speakers)Wolof (2 million speakers)Diola (400,000 speakers)Serer (600,000 speakers)Temne (600,000 speakers)Classification by Sapir (1971) based on lexicostatisticsThree-way division: Northern, Southern, Bijago
10 Small family, only spoken in Niger Delta Languages: 4 IjoidSmall family, only spoken in Niger DeltaLanguages:Defaka (endangered),Ijo - language cluster with over one million speakersClosely related internally, very distinct from other Niger-Congo languages5 DogonAbout half a million speakers in Mali & Burkina FasoOften referred as single languageBertho (1953) proposed at least 4 languages Calame-Griaule (1978) list 5 groups of dialectsEthnologue: 14 Dialects
11 6 Volta-Congo6.1 West Volta-CongoContains three families: Kru, Gur, Adamawa-Ubangi6.1.1 KruSpoken in the south-west quadrant of Côte d'Ivoire, greater part of LiberiaBetween 1 and 2 million speakersMain division: East and West-KruFirst classified within Kwa (Westermann (1927) and Greenberg (1963))Bennett and Sterk (1977) suggested is as part of North/West Volta-CongoBody of Kru languages are closely relatedAdditionally three Kru isolates: Kuwaa (north-west) Tiegba & Abrako (from Aizi group) (east), Sεmε (north)
12 6.1.2 GurVery large familySpoken in south of Mali, northern parts of Côte d'Ivoure, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, NigeriaAbout 5,5 million speakers at least 1,7mio speak MõõreRelationship of the body is quiet clearMembership of others is more doubtful
13 6.1.3 Adamawa-Ubangi Extend from north-west Nigeria through northern Cameroon, southern Chad, Central African Republic northern Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, south-west Sudanabout 1,5 million speakers of Adamawa2,3 million speakers of UbangiGreenberg (1963a) divided Adamawa into 14 groups, "Eastern" into 8 groupsBennett added group 3 (containing Daka) to Benue-Congo
14 6.2 East Volta-CongoGreenberg (1963a:39) doubted the division between Kwa & Benue-Congo6.2.1 KwaSpoken along Atlantic coast of West Africa, south western corner of Nigeria, south-eastern quadrant of Côte d'IvoireAbout 20 million speakersGreenberg (1963a) divided into 8 groups, intigrated Central Togo languages into his groupBenett & Sterk (1977) reassigned Ijoid and Kru to Benue-Congo
15 6.2.2 Benue-Congo Occupy a vast area Greenberg divided into 4 branches:PlatoidJukunoidCross RiverBantoidShimizu (1975) and Gerhardt (1989) integrated Jukunoid to PlatoidBennett and Sterk (1977) added eastern branches of Greenberg's Kwa→ grouped together as "West Benue-Congo"→ former "Benue-Congo" was named "East Benue-Congo"
16 Term 220.127.116.11 Bantoid First used by Krause in 1895 → describing languages with similarity in vocabulary of BantuGuthrie (1948) used it for languages with noun class systems resembling Bantu (no regular sound correspondence)→ established “Guthrie Zones”Standart referential schemeMost zones not genetic groups → geographicalPresent meaning goes back to Greenberg→ Bantu together with its closest relatives ("non-Bantu Bantoid")
18 ClassificationBenue-Congo working group tried to define in the 1970s and 1980s "Narrow Bantu" - the languages recognised by Guthrie as Bantu - as a subgroup of "Wide Bantu"Blench and Williamson (1988) proposed a basic division within Bantiod is between North Bantoid (old "non-Bantu Bantiod" without Tivoid) and South Bantoid (all remaining Bantu languages)→ North Bantu consisting of Mambiloid and Dakoid→ Dakoid includes Chamba DakaClassified by Greenberg as Adamawa, by Bennett (1983) as Benue-CongoBlench assigned it to North BantoidClassification of Narrow Bantu is based on lexicostatistics → not overall agreedMostly agreed, that there is North-West Bantu (Zones A, B, C and parts of D)→ those languages are more distinct from the rest and one another→ ancient splitsDefinition of boundaries between West and East Bantu differs a lotEven suggestions for Central Bantu
19 Problem with these classifications Accept arbitrary boundaries of GuthriePiron (1998) presented most recent lexicostatistic classification, including samples of all Bantiod groupsBecause of various problems (defective lists, inadequate or unrepresentative data) the work suggests different levels of relationshipsSouth Bantoid appears as coherent groupFurthest Neightbor method shows a break between (Narrow) Bantu and the restAverage method splits Eastand South Bantu fromall the rest→ further work needed
20 Typology and Reconstructions 1 VowelsNiger-Congo languages often show vowel harmonyMaximal systems:[+ATR] Vowels: / i e ɜ o u/[-ATR] Vowels: / ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ /Some systems with only oral vowels, some with both, oral and nasalisedAlways fewer nasalised than oral vowelsWestermann reconstructed #a #i #u for Proto-West-Sudanic→ midvowels as later developments from coalescence or assimilationSteward (1998) reconstructed *i *ɪ *a *ʊ *u as oral and *ĩ̃ *ɪ̃ *ã *ʊ̃ *ũ as nasal vowels for Proto-East Volta-CongoDoneux (1975) even reconstructed a system of ten vowels with ATR harmony for Proto Northern Atlantic→it is possible that Proto-Niger-Congo had ten vowels
21 2 Consonats Typically five contrasting places of articulation: LabialDental/alveolarPalatal (incl. post-alveolar)VelarLabial-velarAlmost always voiceless and voiced plosives (often affricates)Usually voiced implosives (except for Kordofanian, Dogon, parts of Benue-Congo)Occasionally unvoiced implosivesOften labialisation as secondary articulationSometimes palatalisationVery rarely verlarisation
22 Westermann(1927): Very small consonant inventory ReconstructionWestermann(1927): Very small consonant inventoryMukarovsky (1976-7:37) richer one, including a series of consonants represented as Ch (might have been aspirate plosive, implosive, affricate or fricative)Stewardt(1973): reconstructed the consonants of Proto-Bantu-Potou-Tano from sound correspondences4 series of stopsVoiceless and voiced lenis1993: proposed that lenis consonants were rather implosives→more promising given wide distribution of implosives in Niger-CongoNon-implosive/implosive contrast has not been confirmed as going farther back than Proto-Potou-TanoPossibly the voiced plosives found in daughter languages of Proto-Bantu-Potou-Tano go back to voiced implosives
23 Steward (1973) showed regular sound correspondence between Potou-Tano and Bantu Also possible between Proto-Ijo and Bantu
24 Mande as instance for exception 3 Noun ClassesDoubtlessly Proto-Niger-Congo must have had a grammaticalised noun-class-systemevery family shows at least traces of the systemMande as instance for exceptionBut initial consonant mutation in nouns suggest conditioning by earlier prefixes
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