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Encyclopedia > Khoisan languages
Khoisan
Geographic
distribution:
Kalahari Desert
Genetic
classification
:
Khoisan
 Khoisan
Subdivisions:
Kwadi-Khoe
Juu-ǂHoan
ISO 639-2: khi
Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages (yellow)
Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages (yellow)

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), in east Africa the Sandawe and Hadza. They are famous for their clicks. Many people were exposed to this group of languages through Nǃxau's language in the 1980 film The Gods Must Be Crazy. Kalahari redirects here. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... The Tuu or Ta’a-!Kwi (Ta’a-!ui, Ui-Taa, Kwi) languages are a language family consisting of two transparently related language clusters spoken in Botswana and South Africa. ... Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ... Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San language family. ... Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San language family. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... The Khoikhoi (men of men) or Khoi are a division of the Khoisan ethnic group of south-western Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (San). ... |group = Bushmen |image = |poptime = 82,000 |popplace = Botswana (55,000), Namibia (27,000) |rels = San Religion |langs = various Khoisan languages |related = Khoikhoi, Xhosa, Zulu, Griqua }} The Bushmen, San, Basarwa, ǃKung or Khwe are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. ... Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... N!xau (or earlier G!kau; birth name Gcao Coma) (December 16, 1944 - July 1, 2003) was a Namibian bush farmer who was made famous by his roles in the 1980 movie The Gods Must Be Crazy and its sequels, in which he played the Kalahari Bushman Xixo. ... The year 1980 in film involved some significant events. ... The Gods Must Be Crazy is a film released in 1980, written and directed by Jamie Uys. ...


Khoisan is the smallest phylum of African languages in Greenberg's classification. However, the relationships among these languages remain a matter of debate among historical linguists, and the term "Khoisan" is often used for convenience without any implication of linguistic validity, much as are "Papuan" and "Australian". It may be that the Tuu and Juu (or Juu-ǂHoan) families are similar due to a southern African Sprachbund rather than a genealogical relationship, whereas the Khoe (or Kwadi-Khoe) family is a more recent migrant to the area, and related instead to Sandawe in East Africa. No higher-level relationship has been demonstrated, and the putative branches of Khoisan are at best extremely distantly related. A phylum is a term in linguistics used for language classification which denotes the highest recognized level of hierarchy. ... Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. ... 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. ... The term Papuan languages refers to those languages of the western Pacific which are neither Austronesian nor Australian. ... The Australian Aboriginal languages are a Australia, and the rest are descended linguistically from them. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ...


Prior to the Bantu expansion, it is likely that Khoisan languages, or languages like them, were spread throughout southern and eastern Africa. Today they are restricted to the Kalahari Desert, primarily in Namibia and Botswana, and to the Rift Valley in central Tanzania.[1] Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (light brown) vs. ... Kalahari redirects here. ... African Rift Valley. ...


Most Khoisan languages are endangered, and several are moribund or extinct. Most have no written record. The only widespread Khoisan language is Nama of Namibia, with a quarter of a million speakers; Sandawe in Tanzania is second in number with about 40,000, some monolingual; and the Juu language cluster of the northern Kalahari is spoken by some 30,000 people. An endangered language is a language with so few surviving speakers that it is in danger of falling out of use. ... A language is usually considered moribund (literally, dying) when it is no longer the language of the community, and is no longer learned by children, so that without massive intervention it will likely become extinct when the last of its current speakers dies. ... An extinct language is a language which is no longer natively spoken: it is estimated that one natural human language dies every two weeks. ... Nàmá, previously called Hottentot, is the most populous and widespread of the Khoisan languages. ... Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ... The Ju or Zhu languages, actually a dialect continuum, form a branch of the hypothetical Khoisan language family. ...


Khoisan languages are best known for their use of click consonants as phonemes. These are written with letters such as ǃ and ǂ. The Juǀʼhoan language has some 30 click consonants, not counting clusters, among perhaps 90 phonemes, which include strident and pharyngealized vowels and four tones. The ǃXóõ and ǂHõã languages are similarly complex. Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ... The postalveolar click is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The palatal click is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Ju/hoan is a Khoisan language of Botswana and Namibia. ... Strident vowels (also called sphincteric vowels) are strongly pharyngealized vowels accompanied by epiglottal trill, where the larynx is raised and the pharynx constricted, so that either the epiglottis or the arytenoid cartilages vibrate instead of the vocal chords. ... Pharyngealisation is a secondary feature of phonemes in a language. ... !Xóõ is a Khoisan language with a very large number of phonemes, the most of any known language. ... ‡Hõã or ‡Hoan, a variant of the ethnonym ‡Qhôã, is an unclassified Khoisan language of Botswana. ...


Grammatically, the southern Khoisan languages are generally fairly isolating, with word order being more widely used to indicate grammatical relations than is inflection. The languages of Tanzania have large numbers of inflectional suffixes.

Contents

Classification

Each of the first five headings listed below is a branch of the putative Khoisan phylum, but it is not clear that they are related. The inclusion of Hadza in Khoisan is especially doubtful, and it appears to be a language isolate. A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or genetic) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. ...


See Khoe languages for speculations on the linguistic history of the region. The Khoe languages comprise the most diverse of the language families that existed in southern Africa prior to the Bantu expansion. ...

  • Hadza (975 speakers in Tanzania) Hadza appears to be unrelated to any other language; genetically, the Hadza people are unrelated to the Khoisan peoples of Southern Africa, and their closest relatives may be among the Pygmies of Central Africa.
  • Sandawe (40,000 speakers in Tanzania) There is some indication that Sandawe may be related to the Khoe-Kwadi family, such as a congruent pronominal system and some good Swadesh-list matches, but not enough to establish regular sound correspondences. The Sandawe are not related to the Hadza, despite their proximity.
  • Kwadi-Khoe
    • Kwadi. Extinct, Angola. Although little data is available, proto-Kwadi-Khoe reconstructions have been made for pronouns and some basic vocabulary.
    • The Khoe family is both the most numerous and diverse family of Khoisan languages, with seven living languages and over a quarter million speakers.
      • Khoekhoe This branch appears to have been affected by the Juu-Tuu sprachbund.
        • Nama (250,000 speakers. Ethnonyms Khoekhoen, Nama, Damara. A dialect cluster including ǂAakhoe and Haiǁom)
        • Eini (Extinct.)
        • South Khoekhoe
          • Korana (Extinct.)
          • Xiri (90 speakers. Moribund. A dialect cluster.)
      • Tshu-Khwe (or Kalahari) Many of these languages have undergone partial click loss.
        • East Tshu-Khwe (East Kalahari)
          • Shua (6000 speakers. A dialect cluster including Deti, Tsʼixa, ǀXaise, and Ganádi)
          • Tsoa (9300 speakers. A dialect cluster including Cire Cire and Kua)
        • West Tshu-Khwe (West Kalahari)
          • Kxoe (11,000 speakers. A dialect cluster including ǁAni and Buga)
          • Naro (14,000 speakers. A dialect cluster.)
          • Gǁana-Gǀwi (4500 speakers. A dialect cluster including Gǁana, Gǀwi, and ǂHaba)
  • The Tuu family consists of two language clusters, which are related to each other at about the distance of Khoekhoe and Tshukhwe within Khoe. They are typologically very similar to the Juu languages (below), but have not been demonstrated to be related to them genealogically. (The similarities may be an areal feature.)
    • Taʼa
      • !Xóõ (4200 speakers. A dialect cluster.)
      • ǀʼAuni-ǀHaasi (Extinct.)
    • ǃKwi
      • Nǀu (10 speakers. Moribund)
      • ǀXam (Extinct)
      • ǁXegwi (Extinct)
  • The Juu-ǂHoan family is a distant relationship, only recently proposed, that is being increasingly accepted.
    • ǂHõã (200 speakers, Botswana. Moribund.)
    • Juu (also ǃKung, formerly Northern Khoisan) is a single dialect cluster. (~45,000 speakers.) Well known dialects are ǃKung (ǃXũũ), Juǀʼhoan, and ǂKxʼauǁʼein.
  • Other
A Haiǁom language is listed in most Khoisan references. A century ago the Haiǁom people spoke a Ju dialect, probably close to ǃKung, but they now speak a divergent dialect of Nama. Thus their language is variously said to be extinct or to have 16,000 speakers, to be Ju or to be Khoe. (Their numbers have been included under Nama above.) They are known as the Saa by the Nama, and this is the source of the word San.

Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ... Baka dancers in the East Province of Cameroon Batwa dancers in Uganda This article is about the Pygmy people. ... Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ... A Swadesh list is one of several prescribed lists of basic meanings and vocabulary developed by Morris Swadesh in the 1940-50s, which is used in lexicostatistics (quantitative language relatedness assessment) and glottochronology (language divergence dating). ... Kwadi is an extinct Khoisan language of Angola. ... The Khoe languages comprise the most diverse of the language families that existed in southern Africa prior to the Bantu expansion. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... Nàmá, previously called Hottentot, is the most populous and widespread of the Khoisan languages. ... Korana is an endangered or even extinct Khoisan language of South Africa. ... Xiri is a Khoisan language of South Africa, originally spoken by a small group of Coloureds. ... Shua is a Khoisan language of Botswana. ... Tsoa is a Khoisan language of Botswana and Zimbabwe spoken by about 9300 speakers (Cook 2004). ... Kxoe is a Khoisan language of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. ... ǁAni or ǀAnda is a Khoisan language of Botswana with about 1,000 speakers. ... Naro is a Khoisan language of Botswana and Namibia. ... G‖ana (also spelled Gxana, Dxana) is a Khoisan language of Botswana with about 2000 speakers (2004 Cook). ... Gǀwi or (sometimes spelled Dcui) is a Khoisan language of Botswana with 2,500 speakers (2004 Cook). ... The Tuu or Ta’a-!Kwi (Ta’a-!ui, Ui-Taa, Kwi) languages are a language family consisting of two transparently related language clusters spoken in Botswana and South Africa. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... !Xóõ is a Khoisan language with a very large number of phonemes, the most of any known language. ... Nǀu or Nǀuu is a Khoisan language spoken by the ǂKhomani people in South Africa. ... , or ǀXam Kakǃʼe, is an extinct Khoisan language of South Africa, part of the ǃKwi language group. ... ‖Xegwi is an extinct !Kwi language of South Africa, near the Swazi border. ... ǂHõã or ǂHoan, more accurately ǂQhôã, is an unclassified Khoisan language of Botswana. ... The Ju or Zhu languages, actually a dialect continuum, form a branch of the hypothetical Khoisan language family. ... ǃKung or ǃʼOǃKung is a group of northern dialects of the Ju dialect continuum, which is generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family. ... Juǀʼhoan (also called Zuǀʼhõasi, Dzuʼoasi, Zû-ǀhoa, JuǀʼHoansi) is a Khoisan language spoken in the Northwest District of Botswana by about 5,000 people (as of 2002) and by perhaps a comparable number across the border in Namibia. ... ǂKxʼauǁʼein is a group of mostly southwestern dialects of the Ju dialect continuum of Botswana and Namibia with about 4000 speakers (2004 Cook). ... The Haiǁom are a Khoisan people of Namibia. ... |group = Bushmen |image = |poptime = 82,000 |popplace = Botswana (55,000), Namibia (27,000) |rels = San Religion |langs = various Khoisan languages |related = Khoikhoi, Xhosa, Zulu, Griqua }} The Bushmen, San, Basarwa, ǃKung or Khwe are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. ...

Other "Click Languages"

Further information: Click consonant

Not all languages using clicks as phonemes are considered Khoisan. Most are neighboring Bantu languages in southern Africa: the Nguni languages Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Phuthi, and Ndebele; Sotho; Yeyi in Botswana; and Mbukushu, Kwangali, and Gciriku in the Caprivi Strip; but there is also the South Cushitic language Dahalo in Kenya, and an extinct northern Australian ritual language called Damin. Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu vs. ... Nguni is a group of languages spoken in southern Africa including isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati, and isiNdebele. ... 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. ... Swati (also known as siSwati and Swazi) is a Bantu language 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. ... 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). ... 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. ... Location: Caprivi, Namibia Area: 19,532km (7,541 mi ) Population: 79,852 (2001), 90,422 (1991) Capital: Katima Mulilo Time Zone: South African Standard Time: UTC+1 Caprivi, sometimes called the Caprivi Strip or Caprivi Region and formally known as Itenge, is a narrow protrusion of Namibia eastwards about 450km... The Cushitic languages are a subgroup of the Afro_Asiatic languages phylum, named after the Biblical figure Cush by analogy with Semitic. ... Dahalo is an endangered South Cushitic language spoken by about 400 people in Kenya. ... The Australian Aboriginal languages comprise several language families and isolates native to Australia and a few nearby islands, but by convention excluding Tasmania. ... A secret language spoken in the Gulf of Carpentaria used in mens initiation rites. ...


The Bantu languages adopted the use of clicks from neighboring, displaced, or absorbed Khoisan populations, often through intermarriage, while the Dahalo are thought to retain clicks from an earlier language when they shifted to speaking a Cushitic language; if so, the pre-Dahalo language may have been something like Hadza or Sandawe. Damin is an invented ritual language, and has nothing to do with Khoisan. Language shift is the process whereby an entire speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Barnard, A. (1988) 'Kinship, language and production: a conjectural history of Khoisan social structure', Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 58 (1), 29-50.

References

  • Barnard, A. (1988) 'Kinship, language and production: a conjectural history of Khoisan social structure', Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 58 (1), 29-50.
  • Güldemann, Tom and Rainer Vossen. 2000. Khoisan. In Heine, Bernd and Derek Nurse, eds., African languages: an introduction, 99-122. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Köhler, O. (1971) 'Die Khoe-sprachigen Buschmänner der Kalahari', Forschungen zur allgemeinen und regionalen Geschichte. (Festschrift Kurt Kayser). Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 373–411.
  • Starostin G. (2003) A lexicostatistical approach towards reconstructing Proto-Khoisan. Mother Tongue, vol. VIII.
  • Treis, Yvonne (1998) 'Names of Khoisan languages and their variants', in Schladt, Matthias (ed.) Language, Identity, and Conceptualization among the Khoisan. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 463–503.
  • Vossen, Rainer (1997) Die Khoe-Sprachen. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der Sprachgeschichte Afrikas. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.
  • Westphal, E.O.J. (1971) 'The click languages of Southern and Eastern Africa', in Sebeok, T.A. (ed.) Current trends in Linguistics Vol. 7: Linguistics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Berlin: Mouton, 367–420.
  • Winter, J.C. (1981) 'Die Khoisan-Familie'. In Heine, Bernd, Schadeberg Thilo C. & Wolff, Ekkehard (eds.) Die Sprachen Afrikas. Hamburg: Helmut Buske, 329–374.

This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...

External links

  • Khoisan linguistics at Cornell University
  • Khoisan language family tree per Ethnologue (considered unreliable by Khoisanists; see previous link)
The Tuu or Ta’a-!Kwi (Ta’a-!ui, Ui-Taa, Kwi) languages are a language family consisting of two transparently related language clusters spoken in Botswana and South Africa. ... The Khoe languages comprise the most diverse of the language families that existed in southern Africa prior to the Bantu expansion. ... Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ... Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ... ǁAni or ǀAnda is a Khoisan language of Botswana with about 1,000 speakers. ... Gǁana (also spelled Gxana, Dxana) is a Khoisan language of Botswana with about 2000 speakers (2004 Cook). ... Gǀwi or (sometimes spelled Dcui) is a Khoisan language of Botswana with 2,500 speakers (2004 Cook). ... ǂHõã or ǂHoan, more accurately ǂQhôã, is an unclassified Khoisan language of Botswana. ... Juǀʼhoan (also called Zuǀʼhõasi, Dzuʼoasi, Zû-ǀhoa, JuǀʼHoansi) is a Khoisan language spoken in the Northwest District of Botswana by about 5,000 people (as of 2002) and by perhaps a comparable number across the border in Namibia. ... Korana is an endangered or even extinct Khoisan language of South Africa. ... ǃKung or ǃʼOǃKung is a group of northern dialects of the Ju dialect continuum, which is generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family. ... Kwadi is an extinct Khoisan language of Angola. ... ǂKxʼauǁʼein is a group of mostly southwestern dialects of the Ju dialect continuum of Botswana and Namibia with about 4000 speakers (2004 Cook). ... Kxoe is a Khoisan language of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. ... Nàmá, previously called Hottentot, is the most populous and widespread of the Khoisan languages. ... Naro is a Khoisan language of Botswana and Namibia. ... Nǀu or Nǀuu is a Khoisan language spoken by the ǂKhomani people in South Africa. ... Shua is a Khoisan language of Botswana. ... Tsoa is a Khoisan language of Botswana and Zimbabwe spoken by about 9300 speakers (Cook 2004). ... , or ǀXam Kakǃʼe, is an extinct Khoisan language of South Africa, part of the ǃKwi language group. ... ǁXegwi is an extinct !Kwi language of South Africa, near the Swazi border. ... Xiri is a Khoisan language of South Africa, originally spoken by a small group of Coloureds. ... ǃXóõ is a Khoisan language with a very large number of phonemes, the most of any known language. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Khoisan Language Family (1040 words)
The Khoisan language family is the smallest of the languages families of Africa.
Many of the Khoisan languages have five vowels /i/, /e/, /a/, /o/, /u/ which can be produced with additional features, such as nasalization, pharyngealization, and different voice qualities such as breathy and creaky voice, sometimes resulting in up to 40 different vowels.
The Khoisan languages differ in the number of such combinations from a low of 20 in Nama to a high of 83 in Kxoe.
Khoisan Languages - MSN Encarta (295 words)
Khoisan Languages, African language family (considered by some to be the oldest language family in Africa), spoken by small populations in southern and south-western Africa (especially Botswana and Namibia).
The Khoisan languages were formerly known as “Hottentot” and “Bushmenlanguages, and the term “Khoisan” is composed of the Nama (formerly Hottentot) words khoi “person” and san “foragers”.
The sound systems of Khoisan languages are complex and they include the so-called “clicks” (these unique consonants have been borrowed into some contiguous Bantu languages such as Xhosa and Zulu).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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