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Products for grant FN-255581-17

Documentation of Daats'iin, a Language of Western Ethiopia
Colleen Ahland, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc.

Grant details:

Linguistic features and typologies in languages commonly referred to as ‘Nilo- Saharan’. (Book Section)
Title: Linguistic features and typologies in languages commonly referred to as ‘Nilo- Saharan’.
Author: Ahland, Colleen
Author: Dimmendaal, Gerrit
Author: Jakobi, Angelika
Author: Constanze Kutsch Lojenga
Editor: Wolff, Ekkehard
Abstract: This book provides an in-depth and comprehensive state-of-the-art study of 'African languages' and 'language in Africa' since its beginnings as a 'colonial science' at the turn of the twentieth century in Europe. Compiled by 56 internationally renowned scholars, this ground breaking study looks at past and current research on 'African languages' and 'language in Africa' under the impact of paradigmatic changes from 'colonial' to 'postcolonial' perspectives. It addresses current trends in the study of the role and functions of language, African and other, in pre- and postcolonial African societies. Highlighting the central role that the 'language factor' plays in postcolonial transformation processes of sociocultural modernization and economic development, it also addresses more recent, particularly urban, patterns of communication, and outlines applied dimensions of digitalization and human language technology.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Cambridge University Press
Access Model: for purchase
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Book Title: Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics
ISBN: 9781108283991

Revisiting Komuz: new evidence that supports an old proposal (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Revisiting Komuz: new evidence that supports an old proposal
Author: Ahland, Colleen
Abstract: “Komuz” is a Nilo-Saharan (N-S) language family first proposed by Bender (1989, 1991) based on Greenberg’s (1963) initial subgrouping of Koman and Gumuz languages within the N-S phylum. Bender 1989 originally proposed that Gumuz and Koman had a distant relationship within the same subfamily labeled “Komuz”, but he later recanted (1997, 2000) stating these two groups had “no special relationship” (2000: 56). Since then, others have maintained that these two groups do indeed show special relationship to each other (save Dimmendaal 2011), offering competing classifications which disagree as to a) whether these two are part of the greater N-S phylum and b) where they might fit within the phylum; Ehret (2001), Blench (personal communication), and Ahland (2013) maintain its N-S membership while Dimmendaal (2008, 2011) casts some doubt on its membership, stating that “very few of the more widespread nominal and verbal morphological markers of Nilo-Saharan are attested in the Coman languages plus Gumuz” (2008: 843). More recently, Dimmendaal et al. tentatively have placed Koman and Gumuz as an outlier branch in an N-S tree (forthcoming) even though Dimmendaal had previously listed Koman as an “independent family” and Gumuz as an “isolate” (2011: 408). All of these classifications differ greatly from each other as well as from Bender’s 1991 Komuz proposal. In this paper, I present evidence further supporting a Komuz subgroup within N-S and explore evidence for establishing a distant relationship with the Eastern Sudanic subfamily, which together form the “Core” subgroup of N-S as Bender had initially proposed. New evidence from the previously unknown language Daats'i´in further supports this proposal. Similarities between a possible Komuz family and Eastern Sudanic are assessed in terms of whether there is evidence for shared retentions versus shared innovations, keeping in mind areal patterns and borrowing as possible explanations.
Date: 06/01/2019
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Linguist List CONFERENCE Announcements
Conference Name: The 14th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Conference

On the Documentation of Daats'i´in, previously unknown language of northwestern Ethiopia (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: On the Documentation of Daats'i´in, previously unknown language of northwestern Ethiopia
Abstract: Daats'i´in [dtn] is a B‘aga language (Nilo-Saharan?) spoken by less than 1000 people in northwestern Ethiopia near the Sudan border. The language is closely related to Gumuz [guk] and up until 2013, scholars were not aware that either the langauge or the people existed. Dr. Ahland confirmed the existence of this language and ethnicity in 2014 when she made her first fieldtrip to the area. The B‘aga languages exhibit typological rarities not known to exist in other African languages, e.g. verbal classifiers (Ahland 2010). Furthermore, Daats'i´in and the Gumuz languages don‘t always exhibit the typical patterns found in the neighboring Nilo-Saharan languages and for that reason, at least one linguist has proposed they form an isolate family (Dimmendaal 2011) and should not be considered Nilo-Saharan as they traditionally have (Greenberg 1963, Bender 1997, Ehret 2001). Dr. Ahland will present an overview of her research on Daats'i´in which is funded in part by a DEL (Documenting Endangered Languages) fellowship jointly sponsored by NEH and NSF.
Author: Ahland, Colleen
Date: 03/20/2018
Location: CSULB, F03, Rm 02, Long Beach, CA
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Flyer from Linguistics Brown Bag series at CSULB