New Books: A Grammar of Gidar & A Linguistic Geography of Africa

Two very important books have appeared. Our colleague Zygmunt Frajzyngier is the author of the first and co-author of an article in the second. Click on the pictures or links to get more details:

Frajzyngier, Zygmunt. 2008. A Grammar of Gidar. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

“This reference grammar of Gidar, spoken in the Northern Province of Cameroon by some 40.000 people, contains hypotheses on the forms and functions of its linguistic structures and supporting argumentation and evidence. The language belongs to the Central Branch of Chadic languages, but its phonology, morphology, and syntax differ significantly from those of related Chadic languages and include rare or hitherto unobserved phenomena. “

Heine, Bernd and Derek Nurse (eds.) 2007. A Linguistic Geography of Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Contents: Introduction Bernd Heine and Derek Nurse; 2. Is Africa a linguistic area? Bernd Heine and Zelealem Leyew; 3. Africa as a phonological area Nick Clements and Annie Rialland; 4. Africa as a morphosyntactic area Denis Creissels, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Christa König; 5. The Macro-Sudan belt Tom Güldemann; 6. The Tanzanian Rift Valley area Roland Kießling, Maarten Mous and Derek Nurse; 7. Ethiopia Joachim Crass and Ronny Meyer; 8. The marked-nominative languages of eastern Africa Christa König; 9. Africa’s verb-final languages Gerrit J. Dimmendaal.


Interview with Zygmunt Frajzyngier

At the website of the University of Colorado at Boulder, there is a news release (date: January 31st 2008) about the efforts of our colleague Zygmunt Frajzyngier and other CU-Boulder linguists to record endangered — Chadic and other — languages before they disappear:

Language is the most complex intellectual product of any community,” said Professor Zygmunt Frajzyngier, chair of the CU-Boulder linguistics department. “It is a product of evolution lasting many thousands of years.” (…) A complete description of any language consists of the discovery of all forms and functions coded in the language. This goal hasn’t been met yet for any language, including the best-described languages such as English, Russian, German and French,” said Frajzyngier, who has written several books on endangered African languages, including the recently published “A Grammar of Gidar.”

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