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Cushitic Lexicon and Phonology

Edited by Grover Hudson


M. Lionel Bender

Edited By Grover Hudson

Cushitic Lexicon and Phonology contains a concise reconstruction of lexical and phonological proto-forms for various stages in the development of Cushitic languages, the largest branch within the Afrasian (Afro-Asiatic) phylum. It is based methodologically on the comparative method of historical linguistics, using sound correspondences as major device for the identification of cognates. This almost-finished study was left by the author upon his untimely death in 2008 and was typographically reworked by the editor.

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2. Cushitic Phonologies


2. Cushitic Phonologies

In this chapter I list correspondences from family to family based on the lexemes of the lists of Selected Cushitic Comparisons and Addendum of Weakly Distributed Items. But first I briefly outline the mainly segmental phonologies of Cushitic languages, not including phonological phenomena at phrasal and higher levels, which are largely not relevant for lexical items. A few comments are provided on each table of consonants and vowels, with morphophonemic details kept to a minimum.

For č and ǰ I write c and j except as noted.

2.1. Cushitic phonological inventories

The most promising sources for Cushitic phonologies might at first seem to be synthesizing treatments such as Tucker and Bryan 1966, Hetzron 1972, and Ehret 1987. But these are unsatisfactory: T&B have only sketchy information on Beja, part of Agew, Sidamo, Oromo, and Somali; Hetzron does not consider phonology; Ehret presents only some overall generalizations. So one has to turn to grammars of individual languages and families.

2.1.1. Beja (R. A. Hudson 1976; supplemented by Roper 1928)

Hudson’s š is palato-alveolar but groups with retroflexes (1976: 99). Arabic loans may have z, x, ɣ. Liquids l, r in some words alternate morpho-phonemically, -l- being diminutive. Ɂ and h are sometimes a third C in verb roots, sometimes not. Assimilation of adjacent consonants is normal.←95 | 96→

Roper (1928: 3ff) has also segments (dental d, t; alveolar z; post-alveolar c; retroflex n’, l’, r’, š’; and...

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