An evaluation of Niger-Congo classification

Statement of Responsibility:
Olson, Kenneth S
Series Issue:
2004-005
Date:
2004
Part Of Series:
SIL Electronic Working Papers 2004-005
Extent:
27 pages
Abstract:

This paper examines the presently received classification of the Niger-Congo language family, with the aim of evaluating the classification and suggesting areas of further research. We find that the exact placement of Ijoid, Kru, and Dogon within the Niger-Congo tree remains to be determined and that the unity of each of the following nodes needs to be better established: Atlantic, (new) Kwa, (new) Benue-Congo, Wide Bantu, Narrow Bantu, and Adamawa-Ubangi. The macro classification is based on the method of resemblances, with refining based on lexicostatistics paired with the examination of shared innovations. The comparative method has mostly been applied at a micro level to specific subgroups. A comprehensive reconstruction of Niger-Congo, including the establishment of sound laws, remains the major future task.

Publication Status:
Published
Content Language:
Work Type:
Subject:
Language classification
Niger-Congo
historical linguistics
Africa
Nature of Work:
Entry Number:
7867