Die Rekonstruktion der südkuschitischen Sprachen (West-Rift)

Die Rekonstruktion der südkuschitischen Sprachen (West-Rift)

ISBN 978-3-89645-066-1

Die Rekonstruktion der südkuschitischen Sprachen (West-Rift)

Von den systemlinguistischen Manifestationen zum gesellschaftlichen Rahmen des Sprachwandels – With an English Summary

Author: Roland Kießling. Series edited by: Hans-Jürgen Sasse †.

Series: KuS Cushitic Language Studies Volume 19

575 pp.
1 map, 264 tables and charts
Text language(s): German
Format: 160 x 240 mm
1050 g
€ 69.80

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Apart from the Sandawe and Hadza, the South Cushites, i.e. the Iraqw, Gorwaa, Alagwa and Burunge, represent the oldest inhabitants of East Africa. Their geographic and linguistic restriction to central Tanzania is only a small remnant of their former, more widespread settlement throughout the whole of East Africa, before the arrival of the Bantu and Southern Nilotes. On the basis of data drawn from the four modern representatives of the West-Rift group of languages, the defining characteristics of their common predecessor language (proto-West-Rift or proto-South-Cushitic) are reconstructed using the phonological, morphological and syntactical methodology of historical comparative linguistics. The connection with Cushitic in general is defined, and the historical development paths of the individual South Cushitic languages are detailed step by step.

The linguistic results are further enhanced by a synthesis with findings from adjoining fields of study, e.g. oral literature, demographics, social and economic history, to elucidate the changing and variously intensive relationships with neighbouring ethnic groups, like the East African Khoisan, Bantu and Southern Nilotes. Using the described example, the study in general aims to explore the methods of a historical socio-linguistics in an African context.

The historico-linguistic data have been published in a separate volume of this series (see the following link, as well as further works of the authors and South Cushitic languages):

Accompanying material:



Kießling’s book represents a complete comparative-historical grammar of four South Cushitic idioms, Iraqw with Gorwaa, Alagwa and Burunge. His West Rift reconstructions are based on the methods of internal and sequential reconstruction. [...]

The comparative grammar written by Kießling represents an excellent springboard for the lexical reconstruction, prepared by Kießling & Mous [2003] on the basis of their field research, naturally with knowledge of the results of their predecessors. [...]

Summing up, the monographs of Kießling and Mous present the West Rift grammar and lexicon in reconstructions based on the extraordinary strict methodology. They offer at our disposal a maximum of possible in this field.

Václav Blazek in Folia Orientalia, 41/2005, 177-224

Thus we say ‘na’ás na’amaamis’, ‘thank you very much’ (cf. The Preface of Vol. 19 and Vol. 21) to the two authors for their historical sociolinguistic approach, i.e., for their new and original approach in treating (Proto-)Cushitic languages.

Roberto Sottile in Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 26/2, 2005, 205-209

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