Advertisement

Khoisan Click Languages of Africa: Present, Past, and Future Map

  • Menán du PlessisEmail author
Reference work entry

Abstract

The term Khoisan, alternatively spelled “Khoesan,” is used by contemporary linguists as a convenient blanket term for the non-Bantu and non-Cushitic click-using languages of Africa and does not imply the existence of any familial relationships between the member groups. Some scholars include two isolate click languages of Tanzania, namely, Hadza and Sandawe, within the scope of a so-called “Macro-Khoisan,” although there is little evidence to suggest that these two languages are related even to each other, let alone to any of the southern African languages. This chapter begins by setting out the shifting speaker numbers and distributions of the diverse and often trans-nationally located Khoisan languages of southern Africa, as far as these have been reliably estimated for the present day on the basis of population surveys, and as far as they can be reasonably projected for the relatively recent, largely colonial period on the basis of historical records. The discussion then draws on comparative linguistic evidence (in both a narrow and wider sense) to assess various popular beliefs concerning the older, undocumented past of the Khoisan languages, which are often romantically imagined to be the last vestiges of some primordial African substrate – and the possibility of an alternative scenario is briefly sketched. The chapter concludes with a few brief notes on the uncertain future of these highly endangered African languages in an era of conflicting economic, political, and social-cultural demands.

Keywords

Khoisan languages Click languages Endangered African languages 

References

  1. Appleyard, J. W. (1850). The Kafir language. King William’s Town: Wesleyan Mission Printing Establishment.Google Scholar
  2. Baucom, K. (1974). Proto-Central Khoisan. In E. Voeltz (Ed.), The third annual conference on African linguistics (pp. 3–37). Bloomington: Indiana University Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Bleek, D. (1927). The distribution of Bushman languages in South Africa. In Festschrift Meinhof (pp. 55–64). Hamburg: Augustin.Google Scholar
  4. Bleek, D. (1931). The Hadzapi or Watindenga of Tanganyika territory. Africa, 4, 273–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bleek, W. H. I., & Lloyd, L. C. (1911). Specimens of Bushman folklore. London: George Allen & Co.Google Scholar
  6. Brenzinger, M. (2013). The twelve modern Khoisan languages. In A. Witzlack-Makarevich & M. Ernszt (Eds.), Khoisan Languages and Linguistics: Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium, Riezlern (Research in Khoisan Studies 29, pp. 1–33). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar
  7. Burchell, W. (1824). Travels in the interior of southern Africa (Vol. 2). London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crawhall, N. (2003). The rediscovery of Nǀu and the ǂKhomani land claim process, South Africa. In J. Blythe & R. McKenna Brown (Eds.), Maintaining the links: Language, identity and the land: Proceedings of the seventh foundation for endangered languages conference (pp. 13–19). Bristol: Foundation for Endangered Languages.Google Scholar
  9. Demolin, D., & Chabiron, C. (2013). Clicks, stop bursts, vocoids and the timing of articulatory gestures in Rwanda. Paper presented at the conference on phonetics and phonology of Sub-Saharan languages, 7–10 July 2013, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  10. Dempwolff, O. (1916). Die Sandawe. Linguistiches und ethnographisches Material aus Deutsch-Ostafrika. (Abhandlungen des Hamburgischen Kolonialinstituts: 34.B. Völkerkunde, Kulturgeschichte und Sprachen 19). Hamburg: L. Friederichsen.Google Scholar
  11. Doke, C. (1931). Report on the unification of the Shona dialects. Printed for the Government of Southern Rhodesia by Stephen Austin and Sons, Hertford.Google Scholar
  12. Doke, C. (1954). The southern Bantu languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dornan, S. (1917). The Tati Bushmen (Masarwas) and their language. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 47, 56–60.Google Scholar
  14. Du Plessis, M. (2013). New data on click genesis: Further evidence that click-initial words shared by Khoesan and Bantu languages of southern Africa can be mapped as historically emergent from non-click forms reconstructed for Proto-Bantu. Paper presented at a conference on phonetics and phonology of Sub-Saharan languages in honour of the late Tony Traill, University of the Witwatersrand, 7–10 July 2013.Google Scholar
  15. Du Plessis, M. (2014). The damaging effects of romantic mythopoeia on Khoesan linguistics. Critical Arts, 28(3), 569–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Du Plessis, M. (Forthcoming). Kora: A lost Khoisan language of the early cape and the Gariep. Pretoria/Cape Town: Unisa Press/South African History Online.Google Scholar
  17. Finlayson, R. (2002). Women’s language of respect: isihlonipho sabafazi. In R. Mesthrie (Ed.), Language in South Africa (pp. 279–296). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Gerlach, L. (2015). Phonetic and phonological description of the N!aqriaxe variety of ǂ’Amkoe and the impact of language contact. Humboldt University Ph.D. thesis, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  19. Godée-Molsbergen, E. C. (Ed.). (1916). Reizen in Zuid-Afrika in de Hollandse tijd (Part 1). ‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  20. Güldemann, T. (2004a). TUU – A new name for the southern Khoisan family (University of Leipzig Papers on Africa, Languages and Literatures 23). Leipzig: Institut für Afrikanistik, Universität Leipzig.Google Scholar
  21. Güldemann, T. (2004b). Reconstruction through ‘deconstruction’: The marking of person, gender, and number in the Khoe family and Kwadi. Diachronica, 21(2), 251–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Güldemann, T. (2008). A linguist’s view: Khoe-Kwadi speakers as the earliest food-producers of southern Africa. Southern African Humanities, 20, 93–132.Google Scholar
  23. Güldemann, T. (2014). Khoisan’ linguistic classification today. In T. Güldemann & A.-M. Fehn (Eds.), Beyond ‘Khoisan’: Historical relations in the Kalahari Basin (pp. 1–68). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  24. Güldemann, T., & Elderkin, E. D. (2010). On external genealogical relationships of the Khoe family. In M. Brenzinger & C. König (Eds.), Khoisan languages and linguistics: The 1st Riezlern symposium 2003 (Research in Khoisan studies 24, pp. 15–52). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar
  25. Heine, B., & Honken, H. (2010). The Kx’a family: A new Khoisan genealogy. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 79, 5–36.Google Scholar
  26. Heine, B., & Nurse, D. (2000). Introduction. In B. Heine & D. Nurse (Eds.), African languages: An introduction (pp. 1–10). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kunene, D. P. (1971). Heroic poetry of the Basotho. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  28. Maddieson, I. (2013). Clicks: Primordial or derived? In Keynote address, given at the conference on phonetics and phonology of Sub-Saharan languages, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 7–10 July 2013.Google Scholar
  29. Maingard, L. (1963). A comparative study of Naron, Hietshware and Korana. African Studies, 22(3), 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Monaka, K., & Lepekoane, P. (2008). How the !Xóõ became the Balala: Socio-economic and linguistic factors considered. In S. Ermisch (Ed.), Khoisan languages and linguistics: Proceedings of the second international symposium, Riezlern, 2006 (pp. 265–278). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar
  31. Nurse, D., & Philippson, G. (2003). Introduction. In D. Nurse & G. Philippson (Eds.), The Bantu languages (pp. 1–12). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Schadeberg, T. (2003). Historical linguistics. In D. Nurse & G. Philippson (Eds.), The Bantu languages (pp. 143–163). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Statistics South Africa. (2012). Census 2011: Census in brief. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.Google Scholar
  34. Stow, G. (1905). The native races of South Africa: A history of the intrusion of the Hottentots and Bantu into the hunting grounds of the Bushmen, the aborigines of the country. London: Swan, Sonnenschein and Co..Google Scholar
  35. Swart, H. (2004). A short history of the Schmidtsdrift !Xun community. In !Xun Traditional Council (Comp.), Kulimatji nge: We tell our old stories with music (pp. 6–8). Cape Town: Double Storey Books.Google Scholar
  36. Vossen, R. (1997). Die Khoe-Sprachen: Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der Sprachgeschichte Afrikas. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar
  37. Vossen, R. (Ed.). (2013). The Khoesan languages. Milton Park Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Westphal, E. O. J. (1971). The click languages of southern and eastern Africa. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Linguistics in Sub-Saharan Africa (Current trends in linguistics 7, pp. 367–420). The Hague/Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General LinguisticsStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations