Bushman languages

Bushman languages
also called  San languages 

      loose grouping of languages that confusingly have been considered to be a separate group within the Khoisan languages. The term Bushman as it is used to describe certain southern African hunter-gatherers is somewhat controversial because it is perceived as racist. The name San is an alternative that has found some favour, but it, too, is not free of negative connotations. Both terms are unsatisfactory when applied to languages because they falsely imply the existence of a distinct linguistic subgroup of Bushman, or San, languages.

 Because it purports to combine Khoe (Khoi) languages with a distinct group of “San languages,” the term Khoisan, which is freely applied to at least three or possibly four very different groups of languages, clearly adds to this misconception. Whereas all the Khoe languages do constitute a valid family, the non-Khoe remainder in fact includes the Ju, Southern, and Hadza groups, which do not (see figure—>). It has been claimed that the so-called Bushman languages do have a linguistic integrity based on greater phonetic complexity than the Khoe languages, involving in particular some features of vowels and the structure of click consonants. However, the Khoe languages differ considerably among themselves in phonetic complexity and in some cases show similarities to some but not other “Bushman languages.” Thus the use of phonetic resemblance provides no justification for a distinct Bushman grouping. These languages also differ in other important linguistic features, arguing further against a linguistic unity. Another problem with the term San is that it has been used in a nonlinguistic sense to differentiate groups who primarily hunt and forage from those who are herders; however, many of these San (in this sense) speak a Khoe language.

Anthony Traill

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • bushman — noun Date: 1785 1. capitalized [modification of obsolete Afrikaans boschjesman, from boschje (diminutive of bosch forest) + Afrikaans man] a. a member of a group of short statured peoples of southern Africa who traditionally live by hunting and… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Khoisan languages — Group of more than 20 languages presently spoken by perhaps several hundred thousand Khoekhoe and San peoples of southern Africa. A number of Khoisan languages are now either extinct or spoken by very few people. Their most distinctive linguistic …   Universalium

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  • Mass comparison — is a method developed by Joseph Greenberg to determine the level of genetic relatedness between languages. It is now usually called multilateral comparison. The method is generally rejected by linguists (Campbell 2001, p. 45), though it has… …   Wikipedia

  • койсанские языки — койсанские языки, макросемья языков Африки (по классификации ). Современные К. я. распространены на территории ЮАР, Намибии и на юго востоке Анголы, небольшие группы — в Танзании. Предполагается, что народы, говорящие на К. я., являются… …   Энциклопедический справочник «Африка»

  • Khoisan — noun Etymology: Khoikhoi + San Date: 1930 1. a group of African peoples speaking Khoisan languages 2. a family of African languages comprising principally Khoikhoi and the Bushman languages …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Блик Вильгельм Генрих Иммануил — (Bleek) (1827—1875), немецкий филолог, востоковед и африканист. С 1852 жил в Кейптауне (Южная Африка). Работал в департаменте по делам туземного населения, был хранителем Южноафриканской публичной библиотеки. Основоположник научной… …   Энциклопедический справочник «Африка»

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