Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi diriyeam at MAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA
Mon Mar 8 13:46:13 UTC 1999

----------------------------Original message----------------------------

I don't think this one or Dahalo has anything to do with the Cushitic
languages, much like the rest of the so-called 'southern cushitic', spoken
by originally Khoisan hunters, who were then influenced by the Bantu
agriculturists, Nilotic herdspeople, and probably by the travelling Cushite
(Somalis were travelling all over East Africa since as early as the 12
century in search of commerce and regularly employed the hunter-gatherer
people as trackers of elephants and rhinos;---we should not trust therefore
a few Cushitic lexemes). There are no known southern Cushites south of the
Somalis and the Oromo. I did look through Ehret's lexical collection of the
so-called 'Southern Cushitic', and found nothing reliable, except some
resemblances, and a few loan-words from sheep and goat rearing, indicating
diffusion of the common Cushitic culture (cf. the cattle culture of the
Nilotic); so what? Today, the Turkana in northern Kenya are picking camel
culture from the Somalis; and the Dahalo are moving away from Cushitic
influence, in line with the dominant forces of today in Kenya, to a Swahili
one. There was before Meinhof who was lumping the Khoisan with the then
Hamitic (Cushitic). 

It is only to be expected the Khoisan scattered groups are subject to
greater linguistic influences than any other group. In southern Somalia,
they have completed assimilated linguistically, as the Cushites advanced
upon them from a northern direction; yet, they form an small ethnic group.
The same thing could be expected in Tanzania, as the Bantu agriculturists
advanced into the area from a western/south-western directions. Some time
far in history, it seems they were the sole occupants of the much of East
Africa as far as southern Africa.

Dolgolpolsky (1973:27)  had it Ma'a is a Bantu language by morphology. More
likely, it underwent influences from all the other languages also (notably
Nilo-Saharan and maybe Cushitic, though the last one would be the least as
far as population histories might go). In Hagège and Haudricourt (PUF
1978:40), it is said that it is structurally bantou, and is given as an
example of hybrid case. 

Some Biblio (unordered)

Dolgopoljskij, A. B. 1973 Sravniteljno-istoriceskaja Fonetika Kusitskix
Jazykov. Moscow:Nauka.

Tucker, Archibald N. — Margaret A. Bryan 1974 “The ‘Mbugu’ anomaly”,
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Languages, 37:( i): 188- 207.

Copland, B. D. 1933-34 - “Note on the Origin of the Mbugu, with a
Text,” Zeitschrift fur Eingeborene-Sprachen 24:241—4. 

Ehret, C. 1980. Historical Reconstruction of Southern Couchitic: Phonology
and Vocabulary. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag.

Brenzinger, Matthias. 1987  Die sprachliche und kulturelle Stellung der
Mbugu (Ma a). [Un-published MA. thesis, University of Cologne.]

Goodman, Morris. 1971  "The strange case of Mbugu", in: Dell Hymes (ed.)

 Maddieson, Ian; Spajic, Sinisa; Sands, Bonny; Ladefoged, Peter. Phonetic
Structures of Dahalo. Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere; 1993, 36, Dec, 5-53.

Heine, Bernd. The Study of Word Order in African Languages. Ohio State
University Working Papers in Linguistics; 1975, 20, 161-183.

Thomason,-Sarah-G. Ma'a (Mbugu).  Chpt in CONTACT LANGUAGES: A WIDER
PERSPECTIVE, Thomason, Sarah G. [Ed], Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1996, pp

 Thomason, Sarah Grey. 1983 “Genetic relationships and the case of Ma~ a
(Mbugu)”, Studies in African Linguistics 2: 195- 231.

Greenberg, J. The Languages of Africa. 1970 edition (the one I have), and

At 11:51 AM 3/5/1999 EST, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I think Sally Thomason's posting raises some very interesting
>questions, but it might be useful if Sally could post a list
>of recent references on this language.  AMR
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