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Tracing Language Movement in Africa$
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Ericka A. Albaugh and Kathryn M. de Luna

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190657543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190657543.001.0001

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Scales and Units

Scales and Units

Language Movement and Change in Central Africa

(p.239) Chapter 11 Scales and Units
Tracing Language Movement in Africa

Kathryn M. de Luna

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses two case studies to explore how historians study language movement and change through comparative historical linguistics. The first case study stands as a short chapter in the larger history of the expansion of Bantu languages across eastern, central, and southern Africa. It focuses on the expansion of proto-Kafue, ca. 950–1250, from a linguistic homeland in the middle Kafue River region to lands beyond the Lukanga swamps to the north and the Zambezi River to the south. This expansion was made possible by a dramatic reconfiguration of ties of kinship. The second case study explores linguistic evidence for ridicule along the Lozi-Botatwe frontier in the mid- to late 19th century. Significantly, the units and scales of language movement and change in precolonial periods rendered visible through comparative historical linguistics bring to our attention alternative approaches to language change and movement in contemporary Africa.

Keywords:   Bantu Expansion, Botatwe, historical linguistics, kinship, Lozi, marriage, ridicule, Zambia

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