Historical Linguistics and the Comparative Study of African Languages

Gerrit J. Dimmendaal | University of Cologne
ISBN 9789027211781 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027211798 | EUR 36.00 | USD 54.00
ISBN 9789027287229 | EUR 105.00/36.00*
| USD 158.00/54.00*
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This advanced historical linguistics course book deals with the historical and comparative study of African languages. The first part functions as an elementary introduction to the comparative method, involving the establishment of lexical and grammatical cognates, the reconstruction of their historical development, techniques for the subclassification of related languages, and the use of language-internal evidence, more specifically the application of internal reconstruction. Part II addresses language contact phenomena and the status of language in a wider, cultural-historical and ecological context. Part III deals with the relationship between comparative linguistics and other disciplines. In this rich course book, the author presents valuable views on a number of issues in the comparative study of African languages, more specifically concerning genetic diversity on the African continent, the status of pidginised and creolised languages, language mixing, and grammaticalisation.
[Not in series, 161] 2011.  xviii, 421 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This study is an amazingly rich introduction to historical linguistics and African comparative linguistics. From the first chapter on, it has great depth, wonderful tables with sound correspondences, cognate sets, language classifications, and maps of material that is only rarely discussed in mainstream (historical) linguistics. At the same time, the book is very readable and accessible to students as well as an incredible resource for scholars. It is a delight to read!”
“The history and the genealogical relationships of the languages of Africa are better and better understood, but it is high time that the overall picture is once again presented on the basis of the latest results. Gerrit Dimmendaal is eminently suited to guide the reader and student through the maze of facts and factoids concerning the complex history of the languages of the continent, in particular the processes of contact and mixture.”
“For historical linguists with even a passing interest in Africa, or even a desire to see how historical linguistics applies outside of Indo-European, this is a recommended book.”
Cited by

Cited by 66 other publications

Acker, Sifra Van & Koen Bostoen
2020. Inheritance and contact in the genesis of Gisamba (Bantu, L12a, DRC): A diachronic phonological approach. Linguistique et langues africaines :6  pp. 73 ff. DOI logo
Ackerman, Farrell
2021. Chapter 2. Making sense of morphology. In All Things Morphology [Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 353],  pp. 17 ff. DOI logo
Andrason, Alexander & Mawande Dlali
2020. The (crucial yet neglected) category of interjections in Xhosa. STUF - Language Typology and Universals 73:2  pp. 159 ff. DOI logo
Baker, Matthew J.
2021. Foundations of the Age-Area Hypothesis. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 8:1 DOI logo
Bakker, Peter
2016. You got Gungbe, but we got the numbers. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 31:2  pp. 419 ff. DOI logo
Bakker, Peter
2017. Chapter 10. Dutch creoles compared with their lexifier. In Creole Studies – Phylogenetic Approaches,  pp. 219 ff. DOI logo
Bakker, Peter
2017. Typology of Mixed Languages. In The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology,  pp. 217 ff. DOI logo
Bakker, Peter
2020. Para-Romani Varieties. In The Palgrave Handbook of Romani Language and Linguistics,  pp. 353 ff. DOI logo
Beyer, Klaus
2020. Contact among African Languages. In The Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 649 ff. DOI logo
Bostoen, Koen, Bernard Clist, Charles Doumenge, Rebecca Grollemund, Jean-Marie Hombert, Joseph Koni Muluwa & Jean Maley
2015. Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa. Current Anthropology 56:3  pp. 354 ff. DOI logo
Bostoen, Koen & Heidi Goes
2019. Was Proto-Kikongo a 5 or 7-Vowel Language? Bantu Spirantization and Vowel Merger in the Kikongo Language Cluster. Linguistique et langues africaines :5  pp. 25 ff. DOI logo
Burns, Roslyn
2023. Balancing social determinism vs. sound change. Journal of Historical Linguistics DOI logo
Childs, G. Tucker
2019. Chapter 12. Ideophones as a measure of multilingualism*. In Ideophones, Mimetics and Expressives [Iconicity in Language and Literature, 16],  pp. 303 ff. DOI logo
Clackson, James
2017. The Comparative Method and Comparative Reconstruction. In The Cambridge Handbook of Historical Syntax,  pp. 189 ff. DOI logo
Creissels, Denis
Creissels, Denis
Creissels, Denis
2022. The noncausal/causal alternation and the limits of ambitransitivity in a sample of sub-Saharan languages. Linguistique et langues africaines :8(2) DOI logo
Creissels, Denis
2023. Coding splits in the adnominal possessive construction and alienability: the case of Mandinka (West Mande). Linguistics 61:6  pp. 1593 ff. DOI logo
Creissels, Denis
2023. Noun Class Agreement in Niger‐Congo Languages. In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Morphology,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Daval-Markussen, Aymeric, Kristoffer Friis Bøegh & Peter Bakker
2017. Chapter 7. West African languages and creoles worldwide. In Creole Studies – Phylogenetic Approaches,  pp. 141 ff. DOI logo
de Almeida, Marcos Leitão
2018. The Deep History of the Ficus thonningii Bl. in Central Africa: Ontology, Settlement, and Environment among Lower Congo Peoples (Early Times to ca. 500 B.C.E.). In Historical Archaeology and Environment,  pp. 181 ff. DOI logo
de Luna, Kathryn, Matthew Pawlowicz & Jeffery Fleisher
2022. Lessons for Modern Environmental and Climate Policy from Iron Age South Central Africa. In Perspectives on Public Policy in Societal-Environmental Crises [Risk, Systems and Decisions, ],  pp. 191 ff. DOI logo
de Luna, Kathryn M. & Jeffrey B. Fleisher
2019. Comments, Dialogue, and Supplemental Reading: Eastern African Coast. In Speaking with Substance [SpringerBriefs in Archaeology, ],  pp. 95 ff. DOI logo
Dimmendaal, Gerrit J.
2015. Different cultures, different attitudes. In Language Documentation and Endangerment in Africa [Culture and Language Use, 17],  pp. 37 ff. DOI logo
Dimmendaal, Gerrit J.
2017. Areal Contact in Nilo-Saharan. In The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics,  pp. 446 ff. DOI logo
Faghiri, Pegah & Pollet Samvelian
2020. Word order preferences and the effect of phrasal length in SOV languages: evidence from sentence production in Persian. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 5:1 DOI logo
Feleke, Tekabe Legesse
2022. Issues in Classifying and Mapping the Semitic Languages of Ethiopia. In Handbook of the Changing World Language Map,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Gallay, Alain
2016. Sociétés et rites funéraires : le Nil moyen (Soudan) du Néolithique à l’Islamisation. Afrique : Archeologie et Arts :12  pp. 43 ff. DOI logo
Gallay, Alain
2020. Pour une histoire des peuplements pré- et protohistoriques du Sahel. Afrique : Archeologie et Arts :16  pp. 43 ff. DOI logo
Good, Jeff
2017. Niger-Congo Languages. In The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics,  pp. 471 ff. DOI logo
Green, Christopher R. & Maria Konoshenko
2022. Tonal head marking in Mande compounds: endpoint neutralization and outliers. Mandenkan :67  pp. 3 ff. DOI logo
Heath, Jeffrey
2019. Caught in the middle. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 34:1  pp. 126 ff. DOI logo
Hodgson, Jason A., Connie J. Mulligan, Ali Al-Meeri, Ryan L. Raaum & Scott M. Williams
2014. Early Back-to-Africa Migration into the Horn of Africa. PLoS Genetics 10:6  pp. e1004393 ff. DOI logo
Hyman, Larry M.
Hyman, Larry M.
2020. A note on Nuba Mountain verb extensions. Faits de Langues 51:1  pp. 29 ff. DOI logo
Hyman, Larry M. & William R. Leben
2023. Beauty of construction, richness of expression. Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 15:2  pp. 433 ff. DOI logo
Igartua, Iván
Igartua, Iván
2019. Loss of grammatical gender and language contact. Diachronica 36:2  pp. 181 ff. DOI logo
Kießling, Roland
2018. Niger-Congo numeral classifiers in a diachronic perspective. In The Diachrony of Classification Systems [Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 342],  pp. 33 ff. DOI logo
Moran, Steven
2016. Commentary: Issues of time, tone, roots and replicability. Journal of Language Evolution 1:1  pp. 73 ff. DOI logo
2016. A preliminary description of Ugandan English. World Englishes 35:3  pp. 396 ff. DOI logo
O’Hagan, Zachary, Natalia Chousou-Polydouri & Lev Michael
2019. Phylogenetic classification supports a Northeastern Amazonian Proto-Tupí-Guaraní Homeland. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas 19  pp. e019018 ff. DOI logo
Robinson, Nichodamus
2023.  Historical evolution of the - ile suffix and language genetic relationship in the Nyasa-Tanganyika Corridor . South African Journal of African Languages 43:3  pp. 275 ff. DOI logo
Sands, Bonny
2022. Tracing Language Contact in Africa’s Past. In The Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 84 ff. DOI logo
Schneider-Blum, Gertrud
2022. On noncausal/causal alternations in Tima (Nuba Mountains, Sudan). Linguistique et langues africaines :8(2) DOI logo
Turner, Darryl
2020. Towards a unified analysis of Katcha nominal modifiers. Faits de Langues 51:1  pp. 141 ff. DOI logo
Whiteley, Peter M., Ming Xue & Ward C. Wheeler
2019. Revising the Bantu tree. Cladistics 35:3  pp. 329 ff. DOI logo
H. Ekkehard Wolff
2019. The Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics, DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2012. PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED. Language in Society 41:1  pp. 155 ff. DOI logo
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[no author supplied]
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2022. Wealth, Poverty, and the Colonial Economy. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 144 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Methodologies and Sources for a Conceptual History of Economic Difference over theLongue Durée. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 22 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Bibliography. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 253 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Overview of Climate Developments. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 64 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Conclusion. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 167 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Reconstructed Vocabulary. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 171 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Introduction. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Orphans and Livestock. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 120 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Gender and Honor. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 99 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Language Contact and Genetic Linguistics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 41 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Notes. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 207 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. Excavating Early Ideas about Poverty and Wealth. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 45 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2022. The Bereft and the Powerful. In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa,  pp. 72 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 february 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011002759 | Marc record