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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On the Emergence of an Eighth Ablaut Class in German and Dutch
This article examines a remarkable case of analogy in the verbal systems of German and Dutch which to date has hardly received any attention. In both languages, the ablaut pattern that originally stems from the second Germanic ablaut class (“o = o”) spread to other strong verbs by analogy, as in German heben–hob–gehoben or Dutch binden–bond–gebonden. It is argued that the low token frequency of these verbs triggered this analogy. As in both cases a new type of ablaut class arises through the convergence of several strong verbs, I refer to it as the eighth ablaut class.