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Africa's Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches

Africa's Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Relatively little is known about Africa's endangered languages. Unlike Australia, North Asia, and the Americas, where indigenous languages are predominantly threatened by colonizers, the most immediate and pressing threats to minority African languages are posed by other local languages. Therefore, the threat of language extinction is perceived as lower in Africa than in other parts of the globe. Consequently, in an era when linguists are racing against time to study and preserve the world's threatened languages before they go extinct, a disproportionate amount of research and funding are devoted to the study of endangered African languages when compared to any other linguistically threatened region in the world. There are approximately 308 highly endangered languages spoken in Africa (roughly 12% of all African languages) and at least 201 extinct African languages. This book puts some of Africa's many endangered languages in the spotlight in the hopes of challenging and reversing this trend.

Both documentary and theoretical perspectives are taken with a view towards highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the two approaches, and its implications for the preservation of endangered languages, both in the African context and more broadly. The documentary-oriented articles deal with key issues in African language documentation including language preservation and revitalization, community activism, and data collection and dissemination methodologies, among others. The theoretically-oriented articles provide detailed descriptions and analyses of phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic phenomena, and connect them to current theoretical issues and debates. Africa's Endangered Languages provides thorough coverage of a continent's neglected languages that will spur linguists and Africanists alike to work to protect them.

History & PoliticsRegional & national historyAfrican historyLanguages with Grant & CutlerLinguisticsHistorical & comparative linguistics Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc Publication Date: 07/08/2017 ISBN-13: 9780190256340  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Jason Kandybowicz is Associate Professor of Linguistics at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of The Grammar of Repetition: Nupe Grammar at the Syntax-Phonology Interfacethe syntax-phonology interface, field linguistics and language documentation, and African linguistics (particularly, the languages of West Africa).

More books by Jason Kandybowicz

More books by Harold Torrence

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