Surmic Languages and Cultures

(out of print)
ISBN 978-3-89645-131-6

Surmic Languages and Cultures

Edited by: Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, Marco Last. With contributions by: Jon Abbink, Jonathan Arensen, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, Osamu Hieda, Marco Last, Deborah Lucassen, Moges Yigezu, Scott Randal, Peter Unseth, Hans-Georg Will. Series edited by: M. Lionel Bender †, Franz Rottland †, Norbert Cyffer.

Series: Nilo-Saharan Volume 13

8 pp. Roman, 458 pp.
2 maps, 2 b/w photographs, numerous tables and charts
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
770 g
€ 44.80

The present study deals with the Surmic language group, spoken in southwestern Ethiopia and in the southern Sudan. Until recently, these languages were among the least studied on the African continent.

The editors reunite the analytical study of languages and the investigation of the social dimension of language structure. For them areal diffusion and language contact play an important role in the understanding of formal linguistic matters. The present volume contains a series of pioneering studies addressing synchronic and diachronic aspects of these little known languages.



Gerrit J. Dimmendaal:
Surmic Languages and cultures – An introduction

Gerrit J. Dimmendaal:
A syntactic typology of the Surmic family from an areal and historical-comparative point of view

Moges Yigezu:
Women in society and female speech among the Suri of Southwestern Ethiopia

Peter Unseth / Jon Abbink:
Cross-ethnic clan identities among Surmic groups and their neighbours – The case of the Mela

Peter Unseth:
Two old causative affixes in Surmic languages

Jon Abbink / Peter Unseth:
Surmic languages and cultures – A bibliography


Peter Unseth:
Notes on clan, kinship and marriage patterns among the Manjang


Jonathan Arensen:
Murle categorization

Scott Randal:
A grammatical sketch of Tennet

Moges Yigezu / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal:
Notes on Baale


Jon Abbink:
Violence and political discourse among the Chai Suri

Osamu Hieda:
A sketch of Koegu grammar – Towards reconstructing Proto-Southeastern Surmic

Marco Last / Deborah Lucassen:
A grammatical sketch of Chai, a Southeastern Surmic language

Hans-Georg Will:
The Me’en verb system – Does Me’en have tenses?

The research situation regarding Surmic languages and cultures has improved since 1998, please follow these links:

Accompanying material:


This volume will surely stand as a standard reference work in Surmic linguistics for many years.

David Odden in Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 21/2, 2000, 192-195

Unsere Kenntnis des Surmischen wird durch den vorliegenden Band deutlich erhöht. In vierzehn Artikeln werden Einzelprobleme surmischer Sprachen, aber auch vergleichende und rekonstruierende Beiträge zum Surmischen geboten. [...] Damit sind tatsächlich alle Untergruppen des Surmischen mit Artikeln vertreten, welche reiches und neues Material zu einer Vielzahl von Sprachen bieten. Das äthiopisch-sudanische Grenzgebiet, in dem die surmischen Sprachen gesprochen werden, gehört fortan nicht mehr zu dem ‘linguistic no-man’s-land’, wie es M. Bryan einmal zur Charakterisierung der ‘Sudan-Ethiopian border’ in einem Aufsatztitel zum Ausdruck gebracht hat.

Rainer Voigt in Anthropos, 95/1, 2000, 249f

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