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Progressive vowel height harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu

Heidi Goes (UGent) and Koen Bostoen (UGent)
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  • BANTUFIRST (The First Bantu Speakers South of the Rainforest: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Human Migration, Language Spread, Climate Change and Early Farming in Late Holocene Central Africa)
Abstract
The systematic comparison of the different types of progressive Vowel Height Harmony (pVHH) attested within the Kikongo Language Cluster (KLC) leads to the conclusion that this common Bantu process of long-distance assimilation cannot be reconstructed to Proto-Kikongo. The ‘(a)symmetric-pVHH’ and ‘back-pVHH’ patterns, the two main and structurally different kinds of pVHH within the KLC, emerged independently and relatively late within two distinct subgroups, viz. South Kikongo and North Kikongo respectively. Moreover, the ‘(a)symmetric-pVHH’ pattern further spread from a South Kikongo focal area coinciding with the heartland of the Kongo kingdom to other parts of the KLC through contact-induced dialectal diffusion. Furthermore, the historical-comparative evidence from the KLC suggests that neither symmetric nor asymmetric pVHH should be reconstructed to Proto-Bantu, the most recent common ancestor of all Bantu languages.
Keywords
Bantu, Kikongo, progressive vowel height harmony, African Linguistics

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Citation

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MLA
Goes, Heidi, and Koen Bostoen. “Progressive Vowel Height Harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu.” JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS, vol. 40, no. 1, 2019, pp. 23–73, doi:10.1515/jall-2019-0003.
APA
Goes, H., & Bostoen, K. (2019). Progressive vowel height harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS, 40(1), 23–73. https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2019-0003
Chicago author-date
Goes, Heidi, and Koen Bostoen. 2019. “Progressive Vowel Height Harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu.” JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS 40 (1): 23–73. https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2019-0003.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Goes, Heidi, and Koen Bostoen. 2019. “Progressive Vowel Height Harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu.” JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS 40 (1): 23–73. doi:10.1515/jall-2019-0003.
Vancouver
1.
Goes H, Bostoen K. Progressive vowel height harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS. 2019;40(1):23–73.
IEEE
[1]
H. Goes and K. Bostoen, “Progressive vowel height harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu,” JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 23–73, 2019.
@article{8623836,
  abstract     = {The systematic comparison of the different types of progressive Vowel Height Harmony (pVHH) attested within the Kikongo Language Cluster (KLC) leads to the conclusion that this common Bantu process of long-distance assimilation cannot be reconstructed to Proto-Kikongo. The ‘(a)symmetric-pVHH’ and ‘back-pVHH’ patterns, the two main and structurally different kinds of pVHH within the KLC, emerged independently and relatively late within two distinct subgroups, viz. South Kikongo and North Kikongo respectively. Moreover, the ‘(a)symmetric-pVHH’ pattern further spread from a South Kikongo focal area coinciding with the heartland of the Kongo kingdom to other parts of the KLC through contact-induced dialectal diffusion. Furthermore, the historical-comparative evidence from the KLC suggests that neither symmetric nor asymmetric pVHH should be reconstructed to Proto-Bantu, the most recent common ancestor of all Bantu languages.},
  author       = {Goes, Heidi and Bostoen, Koen},
  issn         = {0167-6164},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS},
  keywords     = {Bantu,Kikongo,progressive vowel height harmony,African Linguistics},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {23--73},
  title        = {Progressive vowel height harmony in Proto-Kikongo and Proto-Bantu},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jall-2019-0003},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2019},
}

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