Language, Identity, and Conceptualization among the Khoisan (Research in Khoisan Studies)

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9783896451439: Language, Identity, and Conceptualization among the Khoisan (Research in Khoisan Studies)
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Khoisanistics, the study of Khoisan peoples, their cultures and languages, has had a special status within the field of scientific African studies in general from its beginnings in the 17th century until today. Compared to the improvements made within the other African language phyla and the culture of its speakers, knowledge on Khoisan is still considerably small when it comes to their languages, historical backgrounds, and present status. There is an urgent need for recording data on these cultures. This is clear from the fact that of the presumably 200 Khoisan languages that might have existed some 100 years ago only about 20 to 35 are still spoken today, many of which again are moribund. The fact that the estimates vary considerably is another indication for the unsatisfying overall situation within Khoisan. This situation is disastrous, among other reasons because a language spoken in any part of the world is worth recording since it is a reflection of the human mind. The study of a language can tell us more about the way people conceptualize their environment, about their traditions and their history than any collection of oral or written traditions. Up to now all efforts to prove that the term Khoisan languages can be justified on the basis of the claim of a genetic relationship must be considered a failure or at least highly hypothetical. Another - though very different - major deficit in the research on Khoisan has been the fact that the few experts working on Khoisan have been doing their research more or less independently from each other. This has certainly caused the present situation where there is no sufficient academic exchange of experience. Such an exchange would not only lead to a better overall view on the alleged language family as a whole, but could also provide valuable information on the genetic relationship of the languages and their origin.

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Megan Biesele; Tom Güldemann; Wilfrid H.G. Haacke; Bernd Heine; Jan W. Snyman; Anthony Traill; Yvonne Treis; Rainer Vossen; Thomas Widlok
Published by Rüdiger Köppe (1998)
ISBN 10: 389645143X ISBN 13: 9783896451439
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Book Description Rüdiger Köppe, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M389645143X

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