Africa's Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches

ISBN : 9780190256340

Jason Kandybowicz; Harold Torrence
528 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
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Relatively little is known about Africa's endangered languages. Unlike Australia, North Asia, and the Americas, where indigenous languages are predominantly threatened by colonizers, the most immediate and pressing threats to minority African languages are posed by other local languages. Therefore, the threat of language extinction is perceived as lower in Africa than in other parts of the globe. Consequently, in an era when linguists are racing against time to study and preserve the world's threatened languages before they go extinct, a disproportionate amount of research and funding are devoted to the study of endangered African languages when compared to any other linguistically threatened region in the world. There are approximately 308 highly endangered languages spoken in Africa (roughly 12% of all African languages) and at least 201 extinct African languages. This book puts some of Africa's many endangered languages in the spotlight in the hopes of challenging and reversing this trend. Both documentary and theoretical perspectives are taken with a view towards highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the two approaches, and its implications for the preservation of endangered languages, both in the African context and more broadly. The documentary-oriented articles deal with key issues in African language documentation including language preservation and revitalization, community activism, and data collection and dissemination methodologies, among others. The theoretically-oriented articles provide detailed descriptions and analyses of phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic phenomena, and connect them to current theoretical issues and debates. Africa's Endangered Languages provides thorough coverage of a continent's neglected languages that will spur linguists and Africanists alike to work to protect them.


List of contributors
Chapter 1 - Africa's Endangered Languages: An Overview
Jason Kandybowicz and Harold Torrence
Chapter 2 - The Challenge of Documenting Africa's Least Known Languages
Bonny Sands
Chapter 3 - The Nata Documentation Project: An Overview
Joash J. Gambarage, Andrei Anghelescu, Strang Burton, Joel Dunham, Erin Guntly, Hermann Keupdjio, Zoe Wai-Man Lam, Adriana Osa-Gomez, Douglas Pulleyblank, Dayanqi Si, Yoshiko Yoshino and Rose-Marie Dechaine
Chapter 4 - Tongue Root Harmony in Nata: An Allomorphy-based Account
Joash J. Gambarage and Douglas Pulleyblank
Chapter 5 - Nominal and Verbal Tone in Nata: An Allomorphy-based Account
Andrei Anghelescu, Joash J. Gambarage, Zoe Wai-Man Lam and Douglas Pulleyblank
Chapter 6 - Nata Deverbal Nominalizations
Rose-Marie Dechaine, Dayanqi Si and Joash J. Gambarage
Chapter 7 - Busy Intersections: A Framework for Revitalization
G. Tucker Childs
Chapter 8 - Documenting Ekegusii: How 'Empowering' Research Fulfills Community and Academic Goals
Carlos M Nash
Chapter 9 - The Role of Theory in Documentation: Intervention Effects and Missing Gaps in the Krachi Documentary Record
Jason Kandybowicz and Harold Torrence
Chapter 10 - Documenting Raising and Control in Moro
Peter Jenks and Sharon Rose
Chapter 11 - The Linker in the Khoisan Languages
Chris Collins
Chapter 12 - Theory and Description: Understanding the Syntax of Eegimaa Verb Stem Morphology
Mamadou Bassene and Ken Safir
Chapter 13 - On (Ir)realis in Seenku (Mande, Burkina Faso)
Laura McPherson
Chapter 14 - Contributions of Micro-comparative Research to Language Documentation: Two Bantu Case Studies
Michael R. Marlo
Chapter 15 - Sebirwa in Contact with Setswana: A Natural Experiment in Learning an
Unnatural Alternation
Elizabeth C. Zsiga and One Tlale Boyer
Chapter 16 - Three Analyses of Underlying Plosives in Caning, A Nilo Saharan Language of Sudan
Timothy M. Stirtz
Chapter 17 - Exceptions to Hiatus Resolution in Mushunguli (Somali Chizigula)
Katherine Hout
Chapter 18 - Acoustic and Aerodynamic Data on Somali Chizigula Stops
Michal Temkin Martinez and Vanessa Rosenbaum
Chapter 19 - Unmasking the Bantu Orthographic Vowels: The Challenge for Language Documentation and Description
Joash J. Gambarage

About the author: 

Jason Kandybowicz is Associate Professor of Linguistics at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of The Grammar of Repetition: Nupe Grammar at the Syntax-Phonology Interfacethe syntax-phonology interface, field linguistics and language documentation, and African linguistics (particularly, the languages of West Africa).

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