Chadic Newsletter Online

ISSN 1618-7369

The Chadic Language Family: Classification and Name Index

Posted by useibert on Thursday, March 28, 2013

Abstract: Due to the pioneering works of Lukas, Greenberg, Newman & Ma, and Hoffmann, beginning some 75 years ago, the basic classificatory framework for Chadic languages is now well established. The present paper provides a conservative, trustworthy classification of  the Chadic family as we now know it drawing on the latest knowledge available. The structure is that of a family with four major branches (I. West, II. Biu-Mandara, III. East, and IV. Masa), subclassified further into sub-branches, groups, and subgroups.

The classification itself is accompanied by a name index that permits the user to determine quickly the classificatory status of any language. Because of the vagaries of nomenclature covering long periods of time and reflecting linguistic, scholarly, and administrative traditions extending over large areas and multiple countries, more than 400 names have been found that refer to the 170 or so Chadic languages that we know of. The index thus also functions as a guide through the maze of confusing names by linking alternative names to the primary terms of reference adopted in the classification.

The author welcomes comments, corrections, and additions. You can also address email to pnxxpn at indiana.edu.

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