Questions tagged [african-languages]

The large variety of languages spoken in Africa.

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What are these "unexplained similarities" between Celtic languages and languages from North Africa?

In the section "The linguistic relationship of Welsh" from the book "Modern Welsh: a comprehensive grammar" by Gareth King we can find the following quote: Celtic also shows ...
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Ncuti Gatwa is, according to Wikipedia, pronounced /ˈʃuːti ˈɡætwɑː/ - where is the NC orthography derived from?

On trying to find the pronunciation of the name of Mizero Ncuti Gatwa, a Rwandan-Scottish actor who will be playing the Fourteenth Doctor, I noticed the NC pairing and its pronunciation is listed on ...
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Do different Akan varities (Asante, Bono, Fante) in Ghana still have separate written standards in use in the current education system and media?

There are four varieties of Akan that have at some point been developed as distinct written standards: Asante, Akuapem, Bono and Fante. However schools today in all the Akan-speaking regions seem to ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How common is Teke as a written language in Gabon and what variety is usually the basis of the written language?

In many instances of Gabonese media, "Teke" seems to be regarded as a single language, however there are several varieties that are distinct enough to be considered as separate languages. ...
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What's the origin of the word "br" in Yemeni Arabic?

Hello everyone What's the etymology of "ber بر", that means "moonlight" in Yemeni? The nearest words I can find in an Egyptian dictionary and in Amharic refer to light, but in ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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African languages spoken continuously in the US (language islands)

I have seen the list of languages of the United States on Wikipedia. The Bantu languages (including Swahili) are the only African languages on it, with 0.22 million speakers, but they aren’t even ...
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Subject prefixes in Bantu languages

Background I'll be up front: this question arises from trying to crack a Lingala song. There is this polyphonic Lingala religious hymn, Salelaka Mokonzi, which is very well-known among members of ...
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3 votes
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Is Swahili a Mora-counting language like Japanese?

I have this simple question on Kiswahili, a Bantu language. As you know in english, we can not always define morae. it's completely different from Japanese morae system. But when I learn Swahili, ...
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2 votes
0 answers
168 views

Pre-Hilalian Hilalian dialects comparaison

What are the main differences between Pre-Hilalian Tunisian dialects ( or any other Maghrebi dialects ) and the Hilalian ones ( Pronunciation , vocabulary ... ) . Let’s take the dialect I speak as an ...
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What is Songhay's Family?

What's the current thinking on genetic affiliations of Songhay? My old texts confidentially place it as Nilo-Saharan. This places a likely proto-Songhay homeland back closer to the Nile, with its ...
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Are ~simba (Bantu) and ~simha (Indic) related?

Does Swahili (and hence cognates of other Bantu languages) simba have any relation to सिंह (~singh or ~simha in Hindi and Sanskrit respectively according to Wiktionary, please correct me if I am wrong)...
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About Bamileke language Kwa [closed]

Years ago, I met this guy from Cameroon. I asked him what language he spoke, and, besides Italian and French (and maybe some English), he said he spoke Kwa, a Bamileke language from his home country. ...
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1 answer
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List of languages with numbers of L1 speakers in Africa

I'm looking for a source that lists languages and gives the number of L1 speakers in Africa, but I've had no luck so far. Any recommendations? Note, for languages such as Arabic which have many L1 ...
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1 vote
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Is there a language that uses some kind of second layer traits (signs of a two-dimensional character)?

I've just read about the Saussure's second primordial principle that states that language is linear. This is sometimes interpreted as the notion of one-dimensioness of language. The second dimension ...
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Help identifying words in unknown language from the Caribbean

These words come from a language known as Guene or Lenga di Luandu (Language of Luando) spoken by blacks on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. They were recorded in the early 20th century and are not ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Diacritics and Ashanti/Twi alphabet?

Ashanti Proverbs (The Primitive Ethics Of A Savage People), by Robert Sutherland Rattray, 1916, uses the following notation : I read that Ashanti people speak Twi, yet the Twi alphabet does not seem ...
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1 answer
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Nzwamba OTRAG rocket. What's that and in what language? [closed]

The german OTRAG rocket company has had conducted its launches in DR Congo (Zaire at that time) in the late seventies. Several sources refer to those rockets under the name of "Nzwamba". What ...
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6 votes
2 answers
716 views

Which mutually intelligible language groups are spoken by more than 1 million people in Cameroon?

Which mutually intelligible language groups are spoken by more than 1 million people in Cameroon? Wikipedia is not very helpful. the map below is the most useful thing I found thus far, which teaches ...
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-1 votes
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What is this language? Is it an ancient language?

I have recently procured an artefact, which was excavated in Yemen. At the bottom of the artefact there is engraving as shown in the picture. Some of the letters (on two sides) look like Egyptian ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Are click sounds accompanied by specific formant transitions?

Is it possible to identify click sounds like [‖ ʘ !] by formant transitions in the surrounding vowels? I know stops and fricatives have that feature. I'm just wondering how the five (main) click ...
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Language used in Escrava Isaura opening theme [closed]

The theme can be heard here at youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T6tWC-SnC2U The music and "lere-lere" in the beginning come from Retirantes song, but the words ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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What is the current understanding of Greenberg's classification of African languages?

In a reply to the criticism of his classification of the languages of the Americas, Greenberg (1989: 107) characterized his work on African languages as follows: [...] my classification is clearly ...
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