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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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This almost-finished study was left by Lionel Bender upon his untimely death in February 2008. It lacked only final checking, formatting of lists and tables, and cross-referencing. In doing this, I have perhaps made some decisions which were not those Lionel would have made, for example concerning choice of phonetic symbols, and the form of presentation of data.

Cushitic Lexicon and Phonology is characteristic of Lionel’s work in its interest in lexicostatistics as evidence for genetic classification, attention to completeness and detail of data, conservative requirements of form-meaning correspondence in reconstruction, and presentation of criteria and methods. Data made accessible here will be greatly appreciated and used even by those who disagree with some of the conclusions.

In the progression of Lionel’s career, this work marks a renewed interest and focus on Cushitic linguistics, after earlier periods of work on Amharic, the Ethiopian language area, and especially classification and reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan and Omotic. He made important contributions in each of these areas, as undoubtedly with the present work.

For an obituary and a full list of Lionel’s publications, see Aethiopica 11: 223–234.

Chapter 1, ‘Preliminaries’, begins by proposing the structure of Afrasian (Afro-Asiatic) according to Bender 1997 (Chadic, Egyptian, Omotic, and ‘Macro-Cushitic’ (Berber, Semitic, Cushitic), and of Cushitic, four groups according to a previous, preliminary, survey of basic-word comparisons: Beja, Agew, East, and South. The core of this chapter is the list of 120 basic-word Cushitic comparisons, plus...

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