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Cushitic Lexicon and Phonology

Edited by Grover Hudson

Series:

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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3. The Phonological Development of Cushitic

Extract

3. The Phonological Development of Cushitic

3.1. Cushitic phonological correspondences

Thirteen lexical items exemplify 13 of the 18 phonemes of Cushitic presented in 2.11.1. These are f(p), t, k, b, ɗ, g, m, l, r, s, š, w, and a. (No d, y, i, u; maybe n.)

Thirteen lexica illustrating Cushitic phoneme correspondences

The specific question which concerns us now is how we get from the radical new *Afrasian proposed here to Cushitic as reconstructed above. This requires accounting for the absence of *Af z, ɗ, c, ɣ, h in *Cushitic. Notice that *Af p > *Cu f. Many other questions arise: How did Omotic get ejectives and how did Semitic get its “emphatic consonants”? (*Afrasian seems not to have had←179 | 180→ an emphatic contrast.) How did Chadic and other families get idiosyncratic consonants such as ɓ, ɬ, ħ? How did vowel systems expand, etc.? These are topics deserving much investigation with a larger lexicon and must be taken up in subsequent work.

In what follows, these abbreviations apply: AA Afrasian, Ch Chadic, Om Omotic, M–C Macro-Cushitic, Sem Semitic, Ber Berber, Cu Cushitic, Bj Beja, Ag Agew, and EC East Cushitic. Egyptian is not dealt with here (see Takács 2000, 2005, and sequels). Sources are Berber: Basset (1952); Chadic: Newman and Ma (1966); Newman (1977); Cushitic languages: herein; Omotic: Bender (2003); Macro-Cushitic: table within; Semitic: Moscati et al. (1969); South Cushitic: Takács (2000); all: Takács (2003).

The table of...

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