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Nilo-Saharan Languages. Ehret and Bender: two different views . Reconstruct the family through different methods, and come to different conclusions Both have positive and negative aspects to their work, but both still appear plausible theories

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Ehret and bender two different views
Ehret and Bender: two different views

  • Reconstruct the family through different methods, and come to different conclusions

  • Both have positive and negative aspects to their work, but both still appear plausible theories

  • Both use large lexical bases and pay strong attention to detail


Methodological differences

Bender

Limited use of morphology in reconstruction

Proposes reconstructed phonology based on averaging of sounds across languages

Uses large amounts of sources

Ehret

Reconstructs a variety of proto-forms

Proposes extremely complex proto-phonology

Restricts use of sources, often has only one language source for a whole language family

Methodological Differences


Bender

More conservative on etymology

Compares words based on similarity in meaning and sound

Does not focus as much on established correspondences

Areal forms excluded

Ehret

Possibly over-imaginative etymologies

Extremely attentive to phonetic detail

Places high importance on established sound correspondences and proto-phonology

Does not concern with areal forms


Bender s organization of ns
Bender’s organization of NS

Nilo-Saharan

Songay

Saharan

Kuliak

S-C (Satellite-Core)

Satellites

Core

Maba

For (Fur)

Central

Sudanic

Berta

Kunama

East

Sudanic

Koman

Gumuz

Kado


Ehret s organization of ns
Ehret’s Organization of NS

Nilo-Saharan

Sudanic

Koman

(Includes Gumuz)

Central Sudanic

Northern Sudanic

Kunama

Saharo-Sahelian

Sahelian

Saharan

For

Trans-Sahel

Ennedian

Bodelian

Western

Sahelian

Eastern

Sahelian

Zaghawa

Berti

Tibu

Kanuri

Nara

Western

Astaboran

Songay

Maban

Maba

Runga

Mimi

Nubian

Tamam

Kir-

Abbaian*

Rub

Ik

Western

Rub


Kir-Abbaian

Jebel

Kir

West Jebel

Bertha

Nuba Mts.

Daju

Surma-

Nilotic

Gaam

Cental

Jebel

Temein,

Jirru

Nyimang,

Dinik

Surmic

Nilotic

Western Nilotic

Eastern Nilotic

Southern Nilotic

Jii

Burun

Bari

Tung’a

Tato

Kalenjin

Luo

Jyang-

Naath

Ateker

Lutokuo-Maa

Datoga

Omotik

Lotuko

Maa-

Ongamo


Conclusions of comparison
Conclusions of comparison?

  • There is almost nothing in common!

  • They use many different names for sub-families, and organize the trees in drastically different ways


The sub families

The sub families

(as per Bender)


Songai songay songhai
Songai (Songay, Songhai)

  • : North and South variants, with 6 and 4 dialects each

  • Spoken in Mali and Niger

  • Northern variants hybridized with Berber, Hausa, or Fulani


Saharan
Saharan

  • Kanuri-Kanembu (Borno): Mutually intelligible varieties

  • Teda: Dialect cluster consisting of North (Teda or Tuda) and South (Daza and Tubu). No single self name

  • Zagawa-†Berti: Northern Zagawa (Zaghawa) known as Bideyat).


Maba n
Maba(n)

  • Bora-Mabang (Maba)

  • Masalit

  • Aiki=Runga-Kibet

  • Mimi of Gaudefroy-Demombynes (Mimi GD)

  • Mimi of Nachtigal (= Mimi N)


For an
For(an)

  • For (Fur): Spoken in Darfur (country of the Fur) in Sudan

  • Amdang: Spoken in Enclaves in Wadai, Chad border with Sudan, and into Darfur.


Berta
Berta

  • Berta: dialect cluster in middle Ethio-Sudan border Area


Kunama
Kunama

  • Single language spoken in Southern Eritrea


Koman
Koman

  • Twama (= Uduk)

  • Komo

  • Opo-Shita

  • Kwama

  • †Gule


Gumuz
Gumuz

  • No single self-name. Spoken in Ethio-Sudan border area


Kuliak
Kuliak

  • Nyangi: possibly extinct

  • Ik

  • Soo

  • All spoken in Uganda


Kado

  • Mudo-Yegang-Kufo

  • Miri-Talla-Tolibi_Sangali

  • Krongo-Talsa


East sudanic
East Sudanic

  • Sub families Nubian, Surmic, Nera, Jebel, Nyima, Tama, Nilotic (Western, Eastern, and Southern)


Nubian
Nubian

  • Nobiin

  • Middob

  • Birgid

  • Kenzi-Dongola

  • Hill Nubian: eight dialect with many names


Surmic
Surmic

  • Majang

  • Murle-Omo Murle-Didinga-Longarim

  • Bale-Zilmanu-Olam

  • Mursi

  • Me’en

  • Kwegu-Muguji

  • Shabo (?)


Nera

  • Single language, also known as Barya or Barea


Jebel
Jebel

  • Gaam

  • Aka

  • Kelo-Beni-Sheko

  • Molo


Nyima
Nyima

  • Nyimang

  • Dinik


Temein
Temein

  • Ronge (Temein)

  • Doni (= Jirru)-Dese(=Teis or Tesei)


Tama

  • Tama

  • Erenga-Sungor

  • Merarit


Daju

  • Limited knowledge

  • East: Shatt, Liguri

  • West: Nyala-Lagowa, Nyolge, Mongo-Sila, and †Beygo


Nilotic western nilotic
Nilotic:Western Nilotic

  • Northwest Nilotic: Burun, Mebaan

  • Northern Luo

    • Colo, Anywa(Anuak, Anyuak), Jur Luo, Turi, Bor

  • Southern Luo

    • Acoli, Kumam, Adola, Luo (Kenya Luo)

  • Dinka-Nuer

    • Jieng (=Dinka), Naadh (=Nuer), Atuot


Eastern nilotic
Eastern Nilotic

  • Bari

  • Teso-Turkana-Lotuko-Maa

    • Lotuko-Maa: Lotuko, Maa (Masai, Maasai), Ongamo (Ngasa)

    • Teso-Turkana: Toposa, Turkana, Teso, Karamojong


South nilotic
South Nilotic

  • Omotik-Datooga: Omotik, Datooga

  • Kalenjin: 4 dialect clusters

  • Meroitic?


Central sudanic
Central Sudanic

  • Extremely fragmented, wide distribution, and lack of data make organization of this difficult

  • Subfamilies Sara-Bagirmi, Bongo, Modo-Baka, Moru-Madi, Mangbutu-Efe, Mangbutu-Asua, Kresh, and Badha (Lendu)


Sara bagirmi
Sara-Bagirmi

  • Sara: confusing term applying to many peoples.

    • Sar, Mbay, Barma (Bagirmi), Kuka, Kenga.

    • Sara-Ngambay: Ngambay, Doba.

    • Sara Kaba: Kaba.

    • Ruto/Vale

  • Yulu-Binga

  • Fongoro

  • Shemya

  • Fer


Bongo
Bongo

  • Single language


Modo baka
Modo-Baka

  • B’eli

  • Baka

  • Morokodo


Moru madi
Moru-Madi

  • North(Moru): Moru

  • Central(Avukaya): Avukaya, Logo, Keliko, High Lugbara, Low Lugbara

  • South (Madi): Madi


Mangbutu efe
Mangbutu-Efe

  • Mangbutu

  • Ndo

  • Mamvu-Balese


Mangbetu asua
Mangbetu-Asua

  • Mangbetu (Unknown language group)

  • Asua: Asua (Aka).


Kresh
Kresh

  • Kresh

  • Aja



Conclusions
Conclusions

  • Two scholars came up with drastically different conclusions on the structure of the family

    • Sign of difficulties with the historical model?

  • Much work needs to still be done: entire language families are still missing basic reference grammars


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