It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Phonological Evidence from the Continental Runic Inscriptions
De Gruyter Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde - Ergänzungsbände 79
The linguistic analysis of runic inscriptions on the Continent tends to focus on individual texts or on groups of texts seen as parallel. We can advance our understanding of the state of Continental Germanic dialects in the 5th-7th centuries by examining the evidence for the major sound changes in a larger dataset.
The study begins with a brief discussion of the Proto-Germanic phonemic system and the major processes by which the systems of Old High German (OHG) and Old Saxon (OS) develop from it. The main body of the work consists of the analysis of a corpus of 90 inscriptions (including, but not confined to, those conventionally labeled "South Germanic") for evidence of these changes. Rather than making the individual inscription the focus for analysis, the investigation groups together all possible witnesses to a particular phonological process.
In many respects, the data are found to be consistent with the anticipated developments of OHG and OS; but we encounter some problems which the existing models of the sound changes cannot account for. There is also some evidence for processes at work in the dialects of the inscriptions which are not attested in OHG or OS.