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Prehistoric language contact in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area: Khoisan influence on southwestern Bantu languages

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Abstract
In this article, we show that the influence of Khoisan languages on five southwestern Bantu click languages spoken in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area is diverse and complex. These Bantu languages acquired clicks through contact with both Khwe and Ju languages. However, they did not simply copy these Khoisan clicks words. They adapted them phonologically, resulting in a reduction of the click inventory and also integrated them into Bantu morphosyntax through the unusual process of paralexification. What is more, clicks do not only occur in words of Khoisan origin, but also spread to native vocabulary as a language-internal change, among other things through sound symbolism. Finally, calques and head-final nominal compounds in a number of these Bantu languages point to structural influence, most likely from Khwe. We argue that the contact-induced changes observed in the southwestern Bantu languages can be partly accounted for by the language shift of native Khoisan speakers who imposed certain features from their native language on the Bantu language they acquired. In addition, Bantu speakers may have used clicks and other Khoisan-derived elements as an emblem for marking a separate identity, as they were not only maintained, but extended to native structures as well.
Keywords
Bantu, Khoisan, language contact, language shift, identity, CLICKS

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Chicago
Gunnink, Hilde, Bonny Sands, Brigitte Pakendorf, and Koen Bostoen. 2015. “Prehistoric Language Contact in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Area: Khoisan Influence on Southwestern Bantu Languages.” Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 36 (2): 193–232.
APA
Gunnink, H., Sands, B., Pakendorf, B., & Bostoen, K. (2015). Prehistoric language contact in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area: Khoisan influence on southwestern Bantu languages. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS, 36(2), 193–232.
Vancouver
1.
Gunnink H, Sands B, Pakendorf B, Bostoen K. Prehistoric language contact in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area: Khoisan influence on southwestern Bantu languages. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS. De Gruyter Mouton; 2015;36(2):193–232.
MLA
Gunnink, Hilde, Bonny Sands, Brigitte Pakendorf, et al. “Prehistoric Language Contact in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Area: Khoisan Influence on Southwestern Bantu Languages.” JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS 36.2 (2015): 193–232. Print.
@article{7005944,
  abstract     = {In this article, we show that the influence of Khoisan languages on five southwestern Bantu click languages spoken in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area is diverse and complex. These Bantu languages acquired clicks through contact with both Khwe and Ju languages. However, they did not simply copy these Khoisan clicks words. They adapted them phonologically, resulting in a reduction of the click inventory and also integrated them into Bantu morphosyntax through the unusual process of paralexification. What is more, clicks do not only occur in words of Khoisan origin, but also spread to native vocabulary as a language-internal change, among other things through sound symbolism. Finally, calques and head-final nominal compounds in a number of these Bantu languages point to structural influence, most likely from Khwe. We argue that the contact-induced changes observed in the southwestern Bantu languages can be partly accounted for by the language shift of native Khoisan speakers who imposed certain features from their native language on the Bantu language they acquired. In addition, Bantu speakers may have used clicks and other Khoisan-derived elements as an emblem for marking a separate identity, as they were not only maintained, but extended to native structures as well.},
  author       = {Gunnink, Hilde and Sands, Bonny and Pakendorf, Brigitte and Bostoen, Koen},
  issn         = {0167-6164},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {193--232},
  publisher    = {De Gruyter Mouton},
  title        = {Prehistoric language contact in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier area: Khoisan influence on southwestern Bantu languages},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jall-2015-0009},
  volume       = {36},
  year         = {2015},
}

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