Eine Grammatik der Kwami-Sprache (Nordostnigeria)

ISBN 978-3-927620-49-0

Eine Grammatik der Kwami-Sprache (Nordostnigeria)

Author: Rudolf Leger. Series edited by: Herrmann Jungraithmayr, Norbert Cyffer.

Series: Westafrikanische Studien Volume 8

20 pp. Roman, 312 pp.
Appendix: 1. Originaltext der Rede des Kwami-Königs, 2. Schematisierte Verbreitungskarte der Kwami und ihrer beiden Dialekte
Text language(s): German
Format: 170 x 240 mm
520 g
€ 39.80

The present work is the first grammatical description of Kwami, a Chadic language belonging to the Bole-Tangale sub-group (Western Chadic A.2). Kwami is the first language of approximatively 15,000 speakers (1994) in north-eastern Nigeria. Following the introduction which gives an overview of the history, the sociolinguistic situation of the Kwami, the material and methods used, the author describes the phonological and tonal system of the language. Kwami is a tonal language with both lexical and grammatical tone, which are described exhaustively, including tonal rules and variations.

The greatest emphasis is placed on morphology and syntax. Linguists will find in this description both a number of features of universal significance as well as many typological pecularities attested to other Chadic languages. The Kwami language does not have gender differentiation in the plural. There is no strong distinction between nouns and adjectives. Nouns have no exponents of grammatical gender. Like in Hausa, there are many methods of plural formation, but plural forms are rarely used, especially when plurality is expressed in another way.

Language contact in northern Nigeria and typological similarities and differences of Bole-angale languages are under discussion in the following paper collection, see the link below:

Accompanying material:


Until this volume appeared, very little was known about Kwami. [...] Thus, linguistics is indebted to the author [...] for this well-written, in-depth study of but one of 17 languages in the Bole-Tangale group of West Chadic. [...] After some introductory material on Kwami, including a lengthy discussion on its eastern and western dialects (see alos the excellent map on p. 311 showing exactly where the language is spoken), Leger presents a detailed section on phonetics and phonology. [...]

Leger’s work is the result of pioneering and painstaking fieldwork. It is thus a contribution to new knowledge. It is furthermore laudable that comparativists will be able to make use of this grammar since there are references to other Chadic and Afroasiatic languages in the thorough bibliography. [...] Consequently, the volume can be considered ‘user-friendly’.

Alan S. Kaye in WORD, 49/1, 1998, pp. 92f

The book under discussion constitutes a successful and pioneer description of the grammatical system of the Kwami language which in a rapid way loses its speakers and eventually may die out. Thanks to the grammar its pecularities have been perpetuated and became accessible to a wider circle of linguists.

Stanislaw Pilaszewicz in Anthropos, 91/1996, pp. 266-267

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