The Bantu Languages  book cover
2nd Edition

The Bantu Languages

ISBN 9781138799677
Published February 6, 2019 by Routledge
806 Pages

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Book Description

Written by an international team of experts, this comprehensive volume presents grammatical analyses of individual Bantu languages, comparative studies of their main phonetic, phonological and grammatical characteristics and overview chapters on their history and classification.

It is estimated that some 300 to 350 million people, or one in three Africans, are Bantu speakers. Van de Velde and Bostoen bring together their linguistic expertise to produce a volume that builds on Nurse and Philippson’s first edition.

The Bantu Languages, 2nd edition is divided into two parts; Part 1 contains 11 comparative chapters, and Part 2 provides grammar sketches of 12 individual Bantu languages, some of which were previously undescribed. The grammar sketches follow a general template that allows for easy comparison.

Thoroughly revised and updated to include more language descriptions and the latest comparative insights.

New to this edition:

• new chapters on syntax, tone, reconstruction and language contact

• 12 new sketch grammars

• thoroughly updated chapters on phonetics, aspect-tense-mood and classification

• exhaustive catalogue of known languages with essential references

This unique resource remains the ideal reference for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of Bantu linguistics and languages. It will be of interest to researchers and anyone with an interest in historical linguistics, linguistic typology and grammatical analysis.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


List of Contributors


1. Introduction

Koen Bostoen & Mark Van de Velde


2. An inventoryof Bantu languages

Harald Hammarström

3. The sounds of the Bantu languages

Ian Maddieson & Bonny Sands

4. Segmental phonology

Larry Hyman

5. Tone

David Odden & Michael Marlo

6. Word formation

Thilo Schadeberg & Koen Bostoen

7. Aspect, Tense and Mood

Derek Nurse & Maud Devos

8. Nominal Morphology and Syntax

Mark Van de Velde

9. Clausal morphosyntax and information structure

Laura Downing & Lutz Marten

10. Reconstructing Proto Bant

Koen Bostoen

11. Classifying Bantu languages

Gérard Philippson & Rebecca Grollemund

12. Language contact

Maarten Mous


13. Kwakum A91

Elisabeth Njantcho & Mark Van de Velde

14. Nsong B85d

Joseph Koni Muluwa & Koen Bostoen

15. Pagibete C401

JeDene Reeder

16. Zimba D26

Constance Kutsch Lojenga

17. The Mara languages JE40

Lotta Aunio, Holly Robinson, Tim Roth, Oliver Stegen & John B. Walker

18. Mbugwe F34

Vera Wilhelmsen

19. Kami G36

Malin Petzell & Lotta Aunio

20. Shingazidja G44a

Cédric Patin, Kassim Mohamed-Soyir & Charles W. Kisseberth

21. Vwanji G66

Helen Eaton

22. Totela K41

Thera Crane

23. Chimpotot N14

Robert Botne

24. Cuwabo P34

Rozenn Guérois

Langage Index

Subject Index

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Mark Van de Velde is a researcher at LLACAN (CNRS-INaLCO) in Paris, of which he has been the director since 2015. He works on the grammatical analysis and documentation of the north-western Bantu languages and the languages of the Benue valley in Nigeria, especially those currently classified as Adamawa. He is also interested in linguistic typology and in the comparative study and reconstruction of Bantu grammar, particularly in the domain of the noun phrase.

Koen Bostoen is Professor of African Linguistics and Swahili at Ghent University and member of the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies. His research focuses on Bantu languages and interdisciplinary approaches to the African past. He obtained an ERC Starting Grant for the KongoKing Project (2012–2016) and an ERC Consolidator’s Grant for the BantuFirst project (2018–2022). Apart from several research articles, he is the author of Des mots et des pots en bantou: une approche linguistique de l’histoire de la céramique en Afrique (2005) and co-editor of Studies in African Comparative Linguistics, with Special Focus on Bantu and Mande (2005), The Kongo Kingdom: Origins, Dynamics and Cosmopolitan Culture of an African Polity (2018) and Une archéologie des provinces septentrionales du royaume Kongo (2018).

Derek Nurse edited the first edition of The Bantu Languages and has worked on historical linguistics, language contact, phonological change, Bantu and (East) African languages, Swahili, ethnolinguistics, the interface of linguistics, archaeology, and history tense/aspect systems in Bantu.

Gérard Philippson edited the first edition of The Bantu Languages and is emeritus Professor of Bantu Languages at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (Paris) and member of the Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage (Lyon). He has worked mostly on East African Bantu Languages, Bantu comparative tonology and diachronic phonology, as well as culture history.