Questions tagged [african-languages]

The large variety of languages spoken in Africa.

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162 views

What's origin of word “br” in Yemeni accent?

Hello everyone What's the etymology of "ber بر," which means "moonlight" in Yemeni? I find nearest words in an Egyptian dictionary and in Amharic referring to light, but in Fuṣḥa ...
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1answer
98 views

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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2answers
2k views

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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2answers
552 views

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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96 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 ...
3
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1answer
120 views

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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3answers
1k views

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)...
4
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1answer
517 views

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. ...
4
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1answer
158 views

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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0answers
52 views

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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2answers
159 views

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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1answer
199 views

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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1answer
86 views

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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535 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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2answers
591 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
184 views

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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2answers
4k views

Language used in Escrava Isaura opening theme

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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2answers
2k views

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 ...