Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Documentation and analysis of !Ora and !Ui languages

This project aims at describing the Khoisan languages !Ora (Korana/Griqua) and !Ui of South Africa.

Duration
2010  -   2014
Funding
EuroBABEL (ESF EUROCORES Program) EuroBABEL (ESF EUROCORES Program)

The Khoisan languages !Ora (Korana/Griqua) and !Ui of South Africa represent two different languages families, Khoe-Kwadi (a.k.a. Central Khoisan) and Tuu (a.k.a. South Khoisan), and are commonly thought to be extinct. Recent reports however confirm that scattered across the Northern Cape and Free State Provinces there are still remnant speakers of these languages. It is their speech that the project aims at describing. 

The project is part of the larger collaborative research project (CRP) “The Kalahari Basin area: a  Sprachbund on the verge of extinction” within the  EuroBABEL program of the  European Science Foundation . 

While most non-specialists have taken the so-called “Khoisan” family for granted since Greenberg’s African classification into four phyla, there is a growing consensus among linguists working on the southern African non-Bantu languages that for the time being these languages should be viewed as comprising at least three independent families, viz. Ju-ǂHoan, Khoe-Kwadi and Tuu.

The CRP takes a multi-disciplinary approach involving linguists, molecular anthropologists and social anthropologists to uncover phenomena of linguistic convergence and areal diffusion that have led to striking similarities and shared features across the three non-Bantu language families of Southern Africa.

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