LINGUIST List 14.3418

Wed Dec 10 2003

Books: Language Description: Bender

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  1. lincom.europa, The Nilo-Saharan Languages: Bender

Message 1: The Nilo-Saharan Languages: Bender

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 15:18:23 -0500 (EST)
From: lincom.europa <>
Subject: The Nilo-Saharan Languages: Bender

Title: The Nilo-Saharan Languages
Series Title: LINCOM Handbooks in Linguistics 06

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Author: M. Lionel Bender, University of Carbondale 

Paperback: ISBN: 389586045X, Pages: 270, Price: EUR 77.70


The Nilo-Saharan Phylum is the most controversial outcome of
Greenbergs genetic classification of African languages dating from
1963. It combines a number of previous and its coherence as against
the other phyla (Afrasian, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan) has not been
satisfactorily demonstrated. In this volume, the author undertakes the
demo nstration, taking as a starting point major groupings he
established in pre vious morphological comparisons and then examining
a lexical data base of o ver 600 items from all the documented
languages. The large Central Sudanic and East Sudanic families are
represented by reconstructed forms from previ ous and forthcoming
publications respectively.

The outcome is a set of 359 reconstructed items divided among
Nilo-Sahar an isoglosses (174 in number), isoglosses for subfamilies
(83), symbolic fo rms (21), areal items (35), items linking
Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo (30) , and items linking Nilo-Saharan and
Afrasian (26). The last four groups ar e not evidence for
establishment of Nilo-Saharan as a genetic family, but a re equally
important in delimiting the phylum and setting it off from other
phyla, a task which has not been given proper weight in the past.
 The book begins with a lengthy and valuable Introduction covering
purpos e and method, an annotated list of languages genetically
arranged, a demogr aphic and cultural overview summary of speakers,
and typological and areal overviews. A history of Nilo-Saharan studies
is included and in a separate chapter a detailed comparison with the
only competing classification (CH. EHRET, forthcoming).
 The main body of the text consists of the establishment of
proto-Nilo-S aharan segments and modern reflexes, consideration of the
role of morpholo gy, and representation of the 359 reconstructed
forms. Four indices allow t he reader to locate items by semantic set,
English gloss, reconstructed hea d-forms in alphabetical order, and
selected secondary reconstructions under head-forms.

2nd printing. (visit our webshop:

Lingfield(s): Language Description

Language Family(ies): Nilo-Saharan (Language Code: )

Written In:
English (Language Code: ENG)

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