Language contact and linguistic reconstruction. (Pre)historic Bantu-Khoisan interactions in Southern Africa in a historical linguistic perspective

Taalcontact en taalkundige reconstructie. De (pre)historie van Bantu-Khoisan interacties in zuidelijk Afrika in historisch taalkundig perspectief
Begin - Einde 
2022 - 2025 (lopend)
Vakgroep Talen en Culturen



The Southern African linguistic landscape is dominated by Bantu languages, which form Africa’s largest language family and are spoken by the vast majority of Southern Africans. Nonetheless, the first Bantu-speaking communities arrived in Southern Africa less than two thousand years ago, where they came into contact with and gradually replaced the languages of pre-existing huntergatherer and pastoralist communities, known as “Khoisan” languages. A previous FWO-funded research project revealed extensive linguistic influence from Khoisan languages in the languages of modern-day Bantu speakers, but also raised important questions about the chronology of the historical contact situations in which these arose. In this project, I will use historical linguistic methodologies such as the comparative method to investigate which Khoisan-derived linguistic features can be reconstructed to earlier stages in the development of Southern Bantu languages. This innovative combination of historical and contact linguistics will result in an understanding of the relative timing of different situations of Bantu-Khoisan language contact, which had never before been investigated. This will allow for these linguistic results to be combined with findings from archaeological and genetic research, in order to provide groundbreaking new insights into the history of Bantu-Khoisan contact in Southern Africa.



Postdoctorale medewerker(s)