Languages

The Bantu languages number around 500, all spoken in the area between Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa (see map). Nurse and Philippson (2003) refer to an estimate of about 240 million speakers of Bantu languages – one in three Africans! Guthrie (1948) classified these into groups, indicated by a letter (geographical and partly genealogical zone) and a number (subgroup and language). This system is still used in referring to the Bantu languages.

In the BaSIS project we focus on 10 languages, which all display interesting features in the morphosyntactic expression of information structure:

  • Tunen (A44, Cameroon)
  • Teke (B70, Congo, Gabon)
  • Kîîtharaka (E54, Kenya)
  • Kirundi (JD62, Burundi)
  • Rukiga (JE14, Uganda)
  • Nyakyusa (M31, Tanzania)
  • Makhuwa (P31, Mozambique)
  • Otjiherero (R30, Namibia)
  • Changana (S53, South Africa, Mozambique)
  • Copi (S61, Mozambique)
Bantu map SIL
The Bantu languages according to Guthrie 1948, with addition of zone J (copyright SIL)

 

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