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Encyclopedia > Bantu languages
Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu vs. other Niger-Congo languages.
Bantu
Geographic
distribution:
Subsaharan Africa, mostly Southern Hemisphere
Genetic
classification
:
Niger-Congo
 Atlantic-Congo
  Volta-Congo
   Benue-Congo
    Bantoid
     Southern Bantoid
      Bantu
Subdivisions:
ISO 639-2: bnt

The Bantu languages (technically Narrow Bantu languages) constitute a grouping belonging to the Niger-Congo family. This grouping is deep down in the genealogical tree of the Bantoid grouping, which in turn is deep down in the Niger-Congo tree. By one estimate, there are 513 languages in the Bantu grouping, 681 languages in Bantoid, and 1,514 in Niger-Congo.[1] Bantu languages are spoken basically east and south of the present day nation of Nigeria; i.e., in the regions commonly known as central Africa, east Africa, and southern Africa. Parts of this Bantu chunk of Africa also have languages from outside the Niger-Congo family (see map). Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... 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. ... Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa south of the Sahara Desert, is the term used to describe those countries of Africa that are not part of North Africa. ... southern hemisphere highlighted in yellow (Antarctica not depicted). ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... 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. ... In the classification of African languages, Atlantic-Congo is an early branch of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... In the classification of African languages, Volta-Congo is the major branch (in terms of number of languages) of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... The Benue-Congo group of languages constitutes the largest branch of the Niger_Congo language family, both in terms of sheer number of languages, of which 938 are known (not counting mere dialects), and in terms of speakers, numbering perhaps 550 million. ... Bantu is a language family that belongs to the Niger-Congo group. ... In the classification of African languages, Southern Bantoid (or South Bantoid) is one of the two branches of the Bantoid subfamily of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ...


The word Bantu was first used by Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (1827-1875) with the meaning 'people', as this is reflected in many of the languages of this group. A common characteristic of Bantu languages is that they use a stem form such as -ntu or -tu for 'person', and the plural prefix for people in many languages is ba-, together giving ba-ntu "people". Bleek, and later Carl Meinhof, pursued extensive comparative studies of Bantu language grammars. Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (March 8, 1827 - August 17, 1875) was a German linguist. ... Year 1827 (MDCCCXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... 1875 (MDCCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Carl Friedrich Michael Meinhof (July 23, 1857 — February 11, 1944) was a German linguist known as one of the first linguists to study African languages. ...

Contents

Classification of the Bantu languages[2]

The approximate locations of the sixteen Bantu zones (with zone J included)
The approximate locations of the sixteen Bantu zones (with zone J included)

The classification of the Bantu languages is still in an incipient state. There still is no well founded genetic classification. The most widely used system, the alphanumeric coding system developed by Malcolm Guthrie, is mainly areal. In recent decades, there have been at least two proposals for a genetic classification system to replace the Guthrie system. The "Tervuren" proposal of Bastin, Coupez, and Mann suffers from inferior methodology (its reliance on the "lexicostatistic" method) and the SIL proposal suffers from failure of its creators to publish their methodology. The Guthrie system needs to be updated, e.g., by the addition of languages previously overlooked. A classification system for a grouping of languages must be genetic to be scientifically valid; but for the time being, the development of a rigorous genetic classification of many subdivisions of Niger-Congo is hampered by insufficient data. Progress in this field depends on the production of extensive dictionaries for many more member languages. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 593 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (782 × 790 pixels, file size: 239 KB, MIME type: image/png) Based on Image:Africa map blank. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 593 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (782 × 790 pixels, file size: 239 KB, MIME type: image/png) Based on Image:Africa map blank. ... Malcolm Guthrie (1903-1972), professor of Bantu languages, is known primarily for his classification of Bantu languages (Guthrie 1971). ... SIL International is a worldwide non-profit evangelical Christian organization whose main purpose is to study, develop and document lesser-known languages in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy and aid minority language development. ...


The Guthrie, Tervuren, and SIL lists are compared side by side in Maho 2002.


Language structure

The phoneme inventory of Proto-Bantu and its core vocabulary were reconstructed by Guthrie.


The most prominent grammatical characteristic of Bantu languages is the extensive use of affixes (see Sesotho grammar and Luganda language for detailed discussions of these affixes). Each noun belongs to a class, and each language may has several numbered classes, somewhat like genders in European languages. The class is indicated by a prefix on the noun, as well as on verbs and qualificative roots agreeing with it. Plural is indicated by a change of prefix. For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Note: All examples marked with ‡ are included in the audio samples. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. ... In linguistics, grammatical genders, also called noun classes, are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words; every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be very few which belong to several classes at once. ...


The verb has a number of prefixes. In Swahili, for example, Mtoto mdogo amekisoma means 'The small child has read it [a book]'. Mtoto 'child' governs the adjective prefix m- and the verb subject prefix a-. Then comes perfect tense -me- and an object marker -ki- agreeing with implicit kitabu 'book'. Pluralizing to 'children' gives Watoto wadogo wamekisoma, and pluralizing to 'books' (vitabu) gives it Watoto wadogo wamevisoma. This article is about the language. ... Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Bantu words are typically made up of open syllables of the type CV (consonant-vowel) with most languages having syllables exclusively of this type. The morphological shape of Bantu words is typically CV, VCV, CVCV, VCVCV, etc; that is, any combination of CV (with possibly a V- syllable at the start). In other words, a strong claim for this language family is that almost all words end in a vowel, precisely because closed syllables (CVC) are not permissible. This tendency to avoid consonant clusters is important when words are imported from English or other non-Bantu languages. An example from Chichewa: the word "school", borrowed from English, and then transformed to fit the sound patterns of this language, is sukulu. That is, sk- has been broken up by inserting an epenthetic -u-; -u has also been added at the end of the word. Another example is buledi for "bread". Similar effects are seen in loanwords for other non-African CV languages like Japanese. A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of speech that is made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with one or more optional phones (single sounds or phonetic segments). Syllables are often considered the phonological building blocks of words. ... In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Chichewa is the official national language of the Republic of Malawi. ... In poetry and phonetics, epenthesis (, from Greek epi on + en in + thesis putting) is the insertion of a consonant, a vowel, or a whole syllable into a word, usually to facilitate pronunciation. ... A loanword (or a borrowing) is a word taken in by one language from another. ...


The Bantu language with the largest number of speakers is Swahili (G 40), while the Bantu languages with the most native speakers are Shona and Zulu. Judging from the history of Swahili, some linguists believe that Bantu languages are on a continuum from purely tonal languages to languages with no tone at all. This article is about the language. ... ShonaThe word Shona is derived from the Ndebele word itshonalanga(where the sun set)(or ChiShona) is native language of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify those Bantu-language speaking peoples in Southern Africa who speak one of the Shona languages(dialects) namely Zezuru,Karanga... Zulu (called isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ...


Reduplication

Reduplication is a common morphological phenomenon in Bantu languages and is usually used to indicate frequency of the action signalled by the (unreduplicated) verb stem [1] Reduplication, in linguistics, is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word, or only part of it, is repeated. ...

  • Example: in Swahili piga means "strike", pigapiga means "strike repeatedly".

Well-known names that have reduplication include

First International Australia 1 - 2 South Africa (Sydney, Australia; 10 May 1947) Largest win Australia 0 - 8 South Africa (Adelaide, Australia; 17 September 1955) Worst defeat Australia 5 - 1 South Africa (Newcastle, Australia; 7 June 1947) Mexico 4 - 0 South Africa (Los Angeles, USA; 6 October 1993) USA 4 - 0... First International Zambia 1 - 0 Tanzania (Malawi; 3 July 1964) Largest win Zambia 9 - 0 Kenya (Malawi; 13 November 1978) Worst defeat Congo DR 10 - 1 Zambia (Congo-Kinshasa; 22 November 1969) Belgium 9 - 0 Zambia (Brussels, Belgium; 3 June 1994) World Cup Appearances none (First in -) Best result - African... Eric Djemba-Djemba (born May 4, 1981 in Douala, Cameroon) is a football player who currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Burnley (on loan from Aston Villa) and the Cameroonian national team. ... Lomana Tresor LuaLua (born December 28, 1980 in Kinshasa, DR Congo) is a professional footballer from the Democratic Republic of Congo. ... View of the Ngorongoro Crater The Ngorongoro Conservation Area or NCA is a conservation area situated 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. ...

A list of common Bantu languages

The following is a short list of Bantu languages that may be relatively well known:

  • in West Africa
    • Basaa (in Cameroon)
    • Kako (in Cameroon)
    • Ngumba (in Cameroon)
    • Beti (in Cameroon)

Most are known in English without the class prefix (Swahili, Tswana, Ndebele), but are sometimes used with the (language-specific) prefix (Kiswahili, Setswana, Sindebele). The bare (prefixless) form typically does not occur in the language itself. So, in the country of Botswana the people are the Batswana, 'one person' is a 'Motswana', and the language is 'Setswana'. Chichewa (Chicheŵa in Malawian English) is one of the two official national languages of the Republic of Malawi, the other being English. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Gikuyu (sometimes written Kikuyu, pronounced Gĩkũyũ) is a language in the Central Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family spoken primarily by the Kĩkũyũ people of Kenya. ... The Gusii language (also known as Ekegusii) is a Bantu language spoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania). ... Haya (OluHaya) is a Niger-Congo language spoken by the people of Tanzania, west and northwest of Lake Victoria. ... Kichagga (kichaga) is one of the Bantu languages spoken by the people of Tanzania, South of Mount Kilimanjaro. ... Kongo or Kikongo is the Bantu language spoken by the Bakongo people living in the tropical forests of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo and Angola. ... Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and a large part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. ... Luhya (also Luyia, Luhia) is a group of Bantu languages spoken in the western part of Kenya by the Luhya people residing between Lake Victoria, Uganda and Mount Elgon. ... Lusoga is a Bantu language spoken in the Busoga region of Uganda by approximately 1 500 000 people. ... Mongo (also Lomongo and Mongo-Nkundu) is the language spoken by the Mongo people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mostly south of the Congo River. ... RUKIGA LUKIGA CHIGA LANGUAGE This is closely related to the RUNYANKORE language spoken by the Banyankore, Banyakole or Ankole as the people are also known. ... Kirundi (also written Rundi) is a Bantu language (D62 in Guthries classification) spoken by some 6 million people in Burundi and adjacent parts of Tanzania and Congo-Kinshasa, as well as in Uganda. ... Runyankole (also Runyankore) is a Bantu language spoken by the Ankole tribe of Southwestern Uganda. ... Nyoro language (autonym: Runyoro) is a local language of Nyoro in Uganda. ... Rutooro is a Bantu language spoken mainly by the Batooro people [1] from the Toro (kingdom) region of western Uganda. ... This article is about the language. ... Contents // Categories: Bantu languages | Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo | Language stubs ... Tumbuka language edition of Wikipedia The Tumbuka language is a Bantu language which is spoken in parts of Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania. ... Lugisu is the language of the Bamasaba or Bagisu tribe of eastern Uganda. ... Oshiwambo or Oshivambo is a cluster of several very closely related languages in Angola and Namibia, notably Kwanyama (or Oshikwanyama) and Ndonga. ... The Ndebele language, or isiNdebele, or Sindebele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the AmaNdebele (the Ndebele people). ... This article needs cleanup. ... ShonaThe word Shona is derived from the Ndebele word itshonalanga(where the sun set)(or ChiShona) is native language of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify those Bantu-language speaking peoples in Southern Africa who speak one of the Shona languages(dialects) namely Zezuru,Karanga... Swati (siSwati in the language itself; Swazi in Zulu) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. ... Phuthi, also siPhuti is a Bantu Nguni language variety with Sotho influence spoken in scattered communities in the Eastern Cape / Lesotho borderland. ... Sesotho (Sotho, Southern Sotho or Southern Sesotho[1]) is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language. ... The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. ... Tswana (Setswana), is a Bantu language. ... Venda, also known as Tshivenda, or Luvenda, is a Bantu language. ... For the Xhosa people, see Xhosa. ... Zulu (called isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... Basaa (also spelled Bassa, Basa, Bissa) is a Bantu language spoken in Cameroon. ... Ngumba is a language of Cameroon, spoken in the south along the coast and at the border with Equatorial Guinea by some 70 000 Ngumba, a people of the Maka-Njem ethnic group. ... Tswana, also known as Setswana, is a Bantu language. ...


Today most Bantu linguists would regard the southwards migration, or Bantu expansion, that started about 2000 years before present as originating in the region of eastern Nigeria or Cameroon. Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (light brown) vs. ...


Bantu words popularised in western cultures

Some words from various Bantu languages have been borrowed into western languages. These include:

For other uses, see Banjo (disambiguation) The banjo is a stringed instrument developed by enslaved Africans in the United States, adapted from several African instruments. ... Bongos being played Bongos are a percussion instrument. ... Bomba is an African derived musical form from the Chota Rivera area of Ecuador. ... Candombe is a drum-based musical form of Uruguay. ... For other uses, see Conga (disambiguation). ... A bowl of shrimp gumbo Gumbo is a spicy, hearty stew or soup, found typically in the states on the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, and very common in the southern part of Louisiana and the Lowcountry around Charleston, South Carolina. ... Jenga is a game of physical and mental skill, marketed by Hasbro, in which players remove blocks from a tower and put them on top. ... It has been suggested that Jumbo the Circus Elephant be merged into this article or section. ... Kalimba can refer to: Kalimba is a folk musical instrument of Caribbean Islands. ... Kwanzaa (or Kwaanza) is a week-long Pan-African festival primarily honoring African-American heritage. ... Mambo is a Cuban musical form and dance style. ... The marimba ( ) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. ... Soukous (also known as Lingala or Congo, and previously as African rumba) is a musical genre that originated in the two neighbouring countries of Congo during the 1930s and early 1940s, and which has gained popularity throughout Africa. ... Map of Africa 1890 Look up safari in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Samba (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Simba (disambiguation). ... Look up ubuntu in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the undead. ...

Other relevant links

Malcolm Guthrie (1903-1972), professor of Bantu languages, is known primarily for his classification of Bantu languages (Guthrie 1971). ... Meeussen’s rule is the name for a special case of tone reduction in Bantu languages. ... In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (light brown) vs. ... This is a more complete list of Bantu languages, divided up into the classificatory zones of Guthrie (1967-1971): Northwest Zone A ( Duala, Ewondo, Fang , Bassa ) Zone B ( Kota, Teke, Punu, Tsogo ) Zone C ( Lingala, Ngombé, Mongo, Tetela, Kuba) Central Zone D (Lengola, Enya, Mbole, Mituku, Bembe, Buyu, Nyanga, Bhele...

Bibliography

  • Guthrie, Malcolm. 1948. The classification of the Bantu languages. London: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute.
  • Guthrie, Malcolm. 1971. Comparative Bantu, Vol 2. Farnborough: Gregg International.
  • Heine, Bernd. 1973. Zur genetische Gliederung der Bantu-Sprachen. Afrika und Übersee, 56: 164–185.
  • Maho, Jouni F. 2001. The Bantu area: (towards clearing up) a mess. Africa & Asia, 1:40–49.
  • Maho, Jouni F. 2002. Bantu lineup: comparative overview of three Bantu classifications. Göteborg University: Department of Oriental and African Languages.
  • Piron, Pascale. 1995. Identification lexicostatistique des groupes Bantoïdes stables. Journal of West African Languages, 25(2): 3–39.

Malcolm Guthrie (1903-1972), professor of Bantu languages, is known primarily for his classification of Bantu languages (Guthrie 1971). ... Bernd Heine (* May 25, 1939 in Mohrungen, formerly Eastern Germany, now Poland) is a German linguist and specialist in African studies. ...

References

  1. ^ http://www.ethnologue.org/show_family.asp?subid=90099
  2. ^ Maho 2001

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Bantu languages - LoveToKnow 1911 (8722 words)
On the north this group is bounded by the non-Bantu languages of the Masai, Mbugu and Taturu, and on the south by the Ruaha river.
Ci-subiya is the dominant language of South-West Zambezia, along a portion of the Zambezi river south of Barotseland, and in the lands lying between the Zambezi and the Chobe-Linyante river.
Se-suto is the language of Basutoland; Se-rolon, Se-mangwato, of the Eastern Kalahri; Se-kololo is the court language of Barotseland; Ci-venda and Se-pedi or Peli are the principal dialects of the Transvaal.
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.
As the chief trade language of E Africa, it is understood by perhaps an additional 20 million.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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