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Encyclopedia > Bantu
Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (light brown) vs. other Niger-Congo languages (medium brown).
Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (light brown) vs. other Niger-Congo languages (medium brown).

Bantu is the name of a large category of African languages. It also is used as a general label for over 400 ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Cameroon across Central Africa and Eastern Africa to Southern Africa. These peoples share a common language family sub-group, the Bantu languages, and broad ancestral cultural traditions.[1] Those traditions underly historically increasing diversity of culture and customs. Within localized regions, Bantu languages may be more or less mutually intelligible, but Bantu languages as a whole are as diverse as Indo-European languages. Map showing the distribution of the Niger-Congo languages. ... Map showing the distribution of the Niger-Congo languages. ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ... A political map showing national divisions in relation to the ecological break (Sub-Saharan Africa in green) A geographical map of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south... Categories: Africa geography stubs | Eastern Africa ... Categories: Africa geography stubs | Southern Africa ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu vs. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... In the sense used in philosophy and the social sciences, a convention is commonly seen as a set of widely agreed or accepted rules or customs. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ...

Contents

Definition

"Bantu" means "people" in many Bantu languages, along with similar sounding cognates. Dr. Wilhelm Bleek first used the term "Bantu" in its current sense in his 1862 book A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages, in which he hypothesized that a vast number of languages located across central, southern, eastern, and western Africa shared so many characteristics that they must be part of a single language group. Perhaps the most salient was the organization of many parts of speech in concordance with a set of noun categories, by means of inflected prefixes. Thus in isiZulu, a paradigmatic case for Bleek, the noun root -ntu is found in nouns such as umuntu (person), abantu (people), ubuntu (quality of being human, humaneness), and verbs and adjectives describing the nouns agree with them: Umuntu omkhulu uhamba ngokushesha (The big person walks quickly), Abantu abakhulu bahamba ngokushesha (The big people walk quickly). Cognates are words that have a common origin. ... Wilhelm Bleek Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (March 8, 1827 - August 17, 1875) was a German linguist. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ... A prefix is the initial portion of some object or term (typically in text or speech) with a distinct and he base semantics for a word. ... Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... For other uses, see Paradigm (disambiguation). ... The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. ... Look up ubuntu in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In languages, agreement is a form of cross-reference between different parts of a sentence or phrase. ...


Bleek's basic thesis of linguistic affinity has been confirmed by numerous researchers using the comparative method. The comparative method (in comparative linguistics) is a technique used by linguists to demonstrate genetic relationships between languages. ...


Origins

1. = 3000 - 1500 BC origin2 = ca.1500 BC first migrations        2.a = Eastern Bantu, 2.b = Western Bantu3. = 1000 - 500 BC Urewe nuclus of Eastern Bantu4. - 7. southward advance9. = 500 BC - 0 Congo nucleus10. = 0 - 1000 AD last phase
1. = 3000 - 1500 BC origin
2 = ca.1500 BC first migrations
        2.a = Eastern Bantu, 2.b = Western Bantu
3. = 1000 - 500 BC Urewe nuclus of Eastern Bantu
4. - 7. southward advance
9. = 500 BC - 0 Congo nucleus
10. = 0 - 1000 AD last phase [2] [3] [4]
Early iron age findings in eastern and southern Africa
Early iron age findings in eastern and southern Africa

Current scholarly understanding places the ancestral proto-Bantu homeland near the southwestern modern boundary of Nigeria and Cameroon ca. 5000 years ago (3000 BC), and regards the Bantu languages as a branch of the Niger-Congo language family[5]. This view represents a resolution of debates in the 1960s over competing theories advanced by Joseph Greenberg and Malcolm Guthrie, in favor of refinements of Greenberg's theory. Based on wide comparisons including non-Bantu languages, Greenberg argued that Proto-Bantu, the hypothetical ancestor of the Bantu languages, had strong ancestral affinities with a group of languages spoken in Southeastern Nigeria. He proposed that Bantu languages had spread east and south from there, to secondary centers of further dispersion, over hundreds of years. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (332x680, 14 KB) Bantu expansion according to D.W. Phillipson File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bantu ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (332x680, 14 KB) Bantu expansion according to D.W. Phillipson File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bantu ... Urewe is a term of a culture that developed and spread in and around the the Lake Victoria region during the African Iron Age. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 518 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (677 × 784 pixel, file size: 16 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bantu ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 518 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (677 × 784 pixel, file size: 16 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bantu ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... Joseph Greenberg Joseph Harold Greenberg (May 28, 1915–May 7, 2001) was a prominent and controversial linguist, known for his work in both language classification and typology. ... Malcolm Guthrie (1903-1972), professor of Bantu languages, is known primarily for his classification of Bantu languages (Guthrie 1971). ...


Using a different comparative method focused more exclusively on relationships among Bantu languages, Guthrie argued for a single central African dispersal point spreading at a roughly equal rate in all directions. Subsequent research on loanwords for adaptations in agriculture and animal husbandry and on the wider Niger-Congo language family rendered that thesis untenable. In the 1990s Jan Vansina proposed a modification of Greenberg's ideas, in which dispersions from secondary and tertiary centers resembled Guthrie's central node idea, but from a number of regional centers rather than just one, creating linguistic clusters.[6] Jan Vansina (born in Belgium) is a historian and anthropologist specializing in Africa. ...


Before the expansion of farming and herding peoples, including those speaking Bantu languages, Africa south of the equator was populated by neolithic hunting and foraging peoples. Some of them were ancestral to modern Central African forest peoples (so-called Pygmies) who now speak Bantu languages. Others were proto-Khoisan-speaking peoples, whose few modern hunter-forager and linguistic descendants today occupy the arid regions around the Kalahari desert. Many more Khoekhoe and San descendants have a Coloured identity in South Africa and Namibia, speaking Afrikaans and English. The small Hadza and Sandawe-speaking populations in Tanzania, whose languages are proposed by manu to have a distant relationship to Khoekhoe and San languages (although the hypothesis that the Khoisan languages are a single family is disputed by many, and the name is simply used for convenience), comprise the other modern hunter-forager remnant in Africa. Over a period of many centuries, most hunting-foraging peoples were displaced and absorbed by incoming Bantu-speaking communities, as well as by Ubangian, Nilotic and Central Sudanic language-speakers in North Central and Eastern Africa. While earliest archaeological evidence of farming and herding in today's Bantu language areas often is presumed to reflect spread of Bantu-speaking communities, it need not always do so.[7] An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... Baka dancers in the East Province of Cameroon Batwa dancers in Uganda This article is about the Pygmy people. ... The Khoisan languages (also Khoesaan languages) are the indigenous languages of southern and eastern Africa; in southern Africa their speakers are the Khoi and Bushmen (Saan). ... The Kalahari Desert is a large, arid to semi-arid sandy area in southern Africa that covers about 500,000 km². It covers 70% of Botswana, and parts of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. ... The Khoikhoi (men of men[1]) or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (or San, as the Khoikhoi called them). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with SAN. (Discuss) Look up san, -san in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In the South African, Namibian, Zambian and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruin Afrikaners in Afrikaans) refers to a heterogeneous group of people who posess some degree of sub-Saharan ancestry, but not enough to be considered Black under South African law. ... Look up Wiktionary:Swadesh lists for Afrikaans and Dutch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ... Introduction Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ...


Bantu expansion

Main article: Bantu expansion

The Bantu expansion was a millenia long series of physical migrations, a diffusion of language and knowledge out into and in from neighboring populations, and a creation of new societal groups involving inter-marriage among communities and small groups moving tocommunities and small groups moving to new areas. Bantu-speakers developed novel methods of agriculture and metalworking which allowed people to colonize new areas with widely varying ecologies in greater densities than hunting and foraging permitted. Meanwhile in Eastern and Southern Africa Bantu-speakers adopted livestock husbandry from other peoples they encountered, and in turn passed it to hunter-foragers, so that herding reached the far south several centuries before Bantu-speaking migrants did. Archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence all support the idea that the Bantu expansion was one of the most significant human migrations and cultural transformations within the past few thousand years. The Bantu refer to over 400 different ethnic groups in Africa, from Cameroon to South Africa, united by a common language family, the Bantu languages, and in many cases common customs. ... Turned chess pieces Metalworking is the craft and practice of working with metals to create structures or machine parts. ... For referencing in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Citing sources. ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... This article is about the general scientific term. ...


It is unclear when exactly the spread of Bantu-speakers began from their core area as hypothesized ca. 5000 years ago. By 3500 years ago (1500 B.C.) in the west, Bantu-speaking communities had reached the great Central African rainforest, and by 2500 year ago (500 B.C.) pioneering groups had emerged into the savannahs to the south, in what are now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia. Another stream of migration, moving east, by 3000 years ago (1000 B.C.) was creating a major new population center near the Great Lakes of East Africa, where a rich environment supported a dense population. Movements by small groups to the southeast from the Great Lakes region were more rapid, with initial settlements widely dispersed near the coast and near rivers, due to comparatively harsh farming conditions in areas further from water. Pioneering groups had reached modern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa by 300 A.D. along the coast, and the modern Northern Province (formerly called the Transvaal) by 500 A.D.[8] Savannah redirects here. ... Flag of Transvaal For the Russian theme park, see Transvaal Park. ...


Between the 13th and 15th centuries relatively powerful Bantu-speaking states on a scale larger than local chiefdoms began to emerge, in the Great Lakes region, in the savannah south of the Central African rainforest, and on the Zambezi river where the Monomatapa kings built the famous Great Zimbabwe complex. Such processes of state-formation occurred with increasing frequency from the 16th century onward. They were probably due to denser population, which led to more specialized divisions of labor, including military power, while making outmigration more difficult, to increased trade among African communities and with European, Swahili and Arab traders on the coasts, to technological developments in economic activity, and to new techniques in the political-spiritual ritualization of royalty as the source of national strength and health.[9] Kingdom of Monomatapa: named after the king who ruled over a Southeast African country that the Africans now call Zimbabwe. ... Great Zimbabwe is the name given to the remains of stone, sometimes referred to as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, of an ancient Southern African city, located at in present-day Zimbabwe which was once the centre of a vast empire known as the Munhumutapa Empire (also called Monomotapa or Mwene...


The use of the term "Bantu" in South Africa

Main article: Bantu speaking peoples of South Africa

In the 1920s relatively liberal white South Africans, missionaries and the small black intelligentsia began to use the term "Bantu" in preference to "Native" and more derogatory terms (such as "Kaffir (historical usage in southern Africa)") to refer collectively to Bantu-speaking South Africans. After World War II, the racialist National Party governments adopted that usage officially, while the growing African nationalist movement and its liberal white allies turned to the term "African" instead, so that "Bantu" became identified with the policies of apartheid. By the 1970s this so discredited "Bantu" as an ethno-racial designation that the apartheid government switched to the term "Black" in its official racial categorizations, restricting it to Bantu-speaking Africans, at about the same time that the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steve Biko and others were defining "Black" to mean all racially oppressed South Africans (Africans, Coloureds and Indians). Black South Africans were at times officially called Bantu by the apartheid regime. ... The word Kaffir was used in English and Dutch, from the 16th century to the early 20th century as a blanket term for several different peoples of southern Africa. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The National Party (Afrikaans: Nasionale Party) (with its members sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats) was the governing party of South Africa from June 4th 1948 until May 9th 1994, and was disbanded in 2005. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ... The Black Consciousness Movement was a movement which called for non-violent black resistance to the Apartheid government in South Africa. ... Steve Bantu Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) was a noted anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s. ...


Examples of South African usages of "Bantu" include:

  1. One of South Africa's politicians of recent times, General Bantubonke Harrington Holomisa (Bantubonke is a compound noun meaning "all the people"), is known as Bantu Holomisa.
  2. The South African apartheid governments originally gave the name "bantustans" to the eleven rural reserve areas intended for a spurious, ersatz independence to deny Africans South African citizenship. "Bantustan" originally reflected an analogy to the various ethnic "-stans" of Western and Central Asia. Again association with apartheid discredited the term, and the South African government shifted to the politically appealing but historically deceptive term "ethnic homelands". Meanwhile the anti-apartheid movement persisted in calling the areas bantustans, to drive home their political illegitimacy.
  3. The abstract noun ubuntu, humanity or humaneness, is derived regularly from the Nguni noun stem -ntu in isiXhosa, isiZulu and siNdebele. In siSwati the stem is -ntfu and the noun is buntfu.
  4. In the Sotho-Tswana languages of southern Africa, batho is the cognate term to Nguni abantu, illustrating that such cognates need not actually look like the -ntu root exactly. The early African National Congress of South Africa had a newspaper called Abantu-Batho from 1912-1933, which carried columns in English, isiZulu, Sesotho, and isiXhosa.

A compound is a word composed of more than one free morphemes. ... Bantu Holomisa is a South African Member of Parliament representing the United Democratic Movement. ... Map of the black homelands in South Africa as of 1986 Map of the black homelands in Namibia as of 1978 Bantustan is a territory designated as a tribal homeland for black South Africans and Namibians during the apartheid era. ... Nguni is a group of languages spoken in southern Africa including isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati, and isiNdebele. ... The Sotho-Tswana language group is a group of closely related Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa, including Tswana (Setswana), Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa), Sotho (Southern Sotho or Sesotho), and Lozi (Silozi or Rozi). ... For political parties with similar names in other countries, see Northern Rhodesian African National Congress and Zambian African National Congress. ...

Bibliography

  • Christopher Ehret, An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400, James Currey, London, 1998
  • Christopher Ehret and Merrick Posnansky, eds., The Archaeological and Linguistic Reconstruction of African History, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1982
  • April A. Gordon and Donald L. Gordon, Understanding Contemporary Africa, Lynne Riener, London, 1996
  • John M. Janzen, Ngoma: Discourses of Healing in Central and Southern Africa, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1992
  • James L. Newman, The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Interpretation, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1995
  • Kevin Shillington, History of Africa, 3rd ed. St. Martin's Press, New York, 2005
  • Jan Vansina, Paths in the Rainforest: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1990
  • Jan Vansina, "New linguistic evidence on the expansion of Bantu," Journal of African History 36:173-195, 1995

See also

The Centre International des Civilisations Bantu (CICIBA) is a cultural organization based in Gabon. ... Jan Vansina (born in Belgium) is a historian and anthropologist specializing in Africa. ... Bantu, also called Batuque or Angola, is one of the major sects (nations) of Candomblé, an Afro-American religion practised in Brazil. ... Bantu farmers near Kismaayo The Somali Bantu (also called Jarir, Jareer, Wagosha or Mushunguli) are an ethnic minority group in Somalia which is largely inhabited by Somali people. ... mtDNA-based chart of large human migrations. ...

References

  1. ^ Vansina (1990), Ehret (1998), Janzen (1992)
  2. ^ The Chronological Evidence for the Introduction of Domestic Stock in Southern Africa
  3. ^ A Brief History of Botswana
  4. ^ On Bantu and Khoisan in (Southeastern) Zambia, (in German)
  5. ^ Erhet & Posnansky, eds. (1982), Newman (1995)
  6. ^ Vansina (1995)
  7. ^ Ehret (1998)
  8. ^ Newman (1995), Ehret (1998), Shillington (2005)
  9. ^ Shillington (2005)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Bantu languages - Encyclopedia.com (1418 words)
Bantu languages group of African languages forming a subdivision of the Benue-Niger division of the Niger-Congo branch of the Niger-Kordofanian language family (see African languages).
Bantu contains hundreds of languages that are spoken by 120 million Africans in the Congo Basin, Angola, the Republic of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya.
All of the Bantu languages are tonal, except perhaps Swahili.
Bantu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2036 words)
Bantu is a general term for over 400 different ethnic groups in Africa, from Cameroon to South Africa, united by a common language family, the Bantu languages, and in many cases common customs.
The smallest unit of the Bantu organisational structure was the household, or Kraal, consisting of a man, woman or women, and their children, as well as other relatives living in the same household.
The food acquisition of the Bantu was primarily limited to agriculture and hunting, where generally the women were responsible for agriculture and the men drew for the hunt.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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