2014. Beyond ‘Khoisan’. Historical Relations in the Kalahari Basin, edited by Tom Güldemann and Anne-Maria Fehn

in Journal of Language Contact

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xii, 331 pages. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 330.

The so-called Khoisan languages, which are famous for their phonemic clicks, are still spoken today in wide areas of Botswana and Namibia as well as several adjacent regions. The volume under discussion also shows this on a map (p. 12), which, however, deliberately omits the two Tanzanian representatives Hadza and Sandawe (see the figure on p. 27): They are too far away to be indicated on a map of this scale. More importantly, they fall outside the scope of this volume, which is restricted, according to its subtitle, to the Kalahari Basin. The main title Beyond ‘Khoisan’ still underlines the fact that the editors primarily pursue an areal linguistic approach and that their main aim is to challenge the idea of a homogeneous Khoisan language family. This becomes obvious in the back cover text, which criticises any attempt at establishing a Khoisan family as lacking the proper evidence and praises the volume for its interdisciplinary analyses of the complex situation. Ironically, the work coming under fire here is lacking in the list of references (p. 308), namely the article by Greenberg (1954). As a matter of fact, however, this early contribution excludes the two Tanzanian languages Hadza and Sandawe from the “Khoisan” concept, which unites the Northern, Central and Southern groups in southern Africa (Greenberg, 1954: map).

The volume includes eleven contributions, divided into an introduction and four main parts, by thirteen different authors. Although there is no separate list describing the authors and their former merits in brief, it is obvious that well-known Khoisan scholars such as Edward D. Elderkin, Wilfrid Haacke and the late Henry Honken are represented, but also younger colleagues such as Christian J. Rapold, Linda Gerlach and Christfried Naumann. The editors themselves witness this principle: Tom Güldemann is a specialist in Khoisan languages for nearly twenty years, while Anne-Maria Fehn began to study her first Khoisan language, Ts’ixa from the Khoe family, in about 2010. It would be interesting to evaluate whether the quality of the papers depends on the scientific experience of their authors, but this should not be the primary question in the present review.

Before details on the single papers are noted, one important fact has to be mentioned: As stated in the foreword (p. ix), the whole volume originates from a workshop held in Osaka in 2011. Although the workshop title Genealogical and Areal Linguistic Relations in the Kalahari Basin suggests a rather well-defined topic involving comparative studies from a genealogical and / or areal perspective, it is not at all obvious whether the participants were obliged to observe this topic in their presentations. The back cover text referred to above even emphasises the areal part of this endeavour and leaves not much room for genealogical questions, at least on the large scale of a Khoisan family. This rather areal view fits the fact that, as also mentioned in the foreword (p. ix), the workshop was part of the activities of a “project network” investigating Kalahari Basin Area languages in terms of a “Sprachbund”. Therefore, the whole volume can be expected to support the idea that Khoisan languages or, more precisely, languages of the Kalahari Basin form areal groups. It is obvious in the table of contents (pp. viiviii) that Khoe-Kwadi, Kx’a and Tuu are accepted as language families within the Khoisan sphere, but a large Khoisan family seems to be beyond reach. The following considerations are meant to show, among other things, to what extent the single papers can damage the traditional genealogical Khoisan concept.

The introductory chapter “‘Khoisan’ linguistic classification today” by Tom Güldemann (pp. 1–41) is the longest one of the whole volume. First of all, the author makes a lengthy plea for a uniform revision of the names of Khoisan languages and gives lists of his spellings and subgroups (pp. 2–13). Considering the terminological confusions in research history (see also Treis, 1998), the task to establish names accepted by all scholars is not an easy one. However, it is interesting to read a defence (p. 2) of the spelling “Khoisan” against the modernised “Khoesan” used by Vossen (ed. 2013) when the entity behind this name is regarded as obsolete. In his sketch on earlier studies, the author makes a distinction between research up to Greenberg and Westphal (pp. 13–16) and “Modern linguistic research” (pp. 16–37), where the division is clearly imbalanced. The latter section begins with an evaluation of bundles of linguistic features shared by certain Khoisan subgroups (pp. 17–24), which leads to the establishment of five different genealogical lineages (pp. 24–31). Here, the denial of verb serialisation for Khoe-Kwadi (p. 17), though with a caveat in a footnote, is doubtful in light of the data in Haacke’s contribution (pp. 125–151). The criticisms (p. 25) of details given by Vossen (ed. 2013: 11, 23) are not shared by the present reviewer: Vossen’s classification is marred by the print layout, but clear from the structure of his volume, and Honken’s classification looks quite similar to the author’s (p. 27). The study of Khoisan pronoun systems (pp. 31–37), including even Sandawe, reveals that the five lineages can perhaps be conflated into three, with common ancestors of Khoe-Kwadi and Sandawe on the one hand and Tuu and Kx’a on the other hand (pp. 36–37); only Hadza is not considered here. And: “the genealogical hypothesis … should be kept in mind” (p. 37). Nevertheless, Greenberg’s “South African Khoisan” is said to consist of “three quite distinct lineages” (p. 38). In the end, the author’s judgments appear far less clear than what is suggested in the back cover text and the very useful synopsis of several Khoisan classifications (pp. 40–41) also shows how the claimed sub-groupings have changed over time.

In the introduction, the single chapters of the book are mentioned briefly (pp. 19–20, 23–24, 28, 30, 31). The following Part i is dedicated not to a single language family, but to “Cross-areal perspectives” and its first paper, “Molecular anthropological perspectives on the Kalahari Basin Area” by Brigitte Pakendorf (pp. 45–68), indeed regards Khoisan peoples of all linguistic branches in comparison to Bantu peoples of the same regions. As in linguistics, designing an appropriate sample for study is said to be difficult due to the very uneven state of research on the single Khoisan populations (pp. 47–49). The modern methods of genetics are described in a rather abstract manner (pp. 49–52), but five figures and tables (pp. 53–61 passim) can illustrate the results and help in understanding them. In fact, the study shows that there are indicators specific to Khoisan peoples (pp. 55–56), even if the author also identifies processes of genetic mixture involving several Bantu peoples (pp. 56–64). Especially the Khoe-Kwadi family is traced to East Africa, where Sandawe is spoken (pp. 65–67). The conclusion is that several Khoisan populations, according to their genes, are clearly influenced by neighbouring peoples (pp. 67–68). Although these results do support areal linguistic considerations from a non-linguistic point of view, they are not particularly surprising, given that the vast region inhabited by Khoisan speakers has seen several periods of migrations (see pp. 20–21).

The contribution “Khoisan sibling terminologies in historical perspective. A combined anthropological, linguistic and phylogenetic comparative approach” by Gertrud Boden, Tom Güldemann and Fiona M. Jordan (pp. 69–102) is probably the most interdisciplinary study in the whole volume. Sibling terms are presented as rather straightforward due to their clear connotations (p. 70) and still there are six basic types of terminological systems in the languages of the world, of which not less than five are found in the Khoisan sample (pp. 71–73). As shown in a table and a map (pp. 72–73), these types seem to be only partly related to genealogical language families. The lexical section of the paper begins with some notes on the adopted orthography (pp. 74–75) and it is not at all clear whether the spelling conventions are the same as those advocated in Güldemann’s introductory chapter (esp. pp. 3–5), although he is one of the three authors. In the discussion of sibling terms of the Kx’a, Tuu and Khoe families (pp. 75–82), it is intriguing to see that quite a lot of expressions are morphologically complex and that the attempts at reconstructing proto-lexemes, in spite of considerable variation, still prove successful. Coming back to the types of sibling term systems, a rather technical and complicated section (pp. 82–91) shows, using computer software, how the types may change over time and that the Khoisan sample is not extraordinary in this respect (pp. 88–89). Further analyses, again in different parts for the Kx’a, Tuu and Khoe families (pp. 91–100), concern the concrete historical developments of the terms and types, which are said to be manifold and involve specific scenarios of language and culture contact. As a natural consequence of all this, the authors do not claim features common to all Khoisan languages, but, of course, some important data are still lacking (pp. 100–102).

Edward D. Elderkin’s paper “Clicks, prosodies and Khoisan” (pp. 103–122) is strongly linguistic in nature, as are virtually all papers to come. His Khoisan orthography including several diacritics (p. 104) and superscript letters (p. 111 etc.) has nothing to do with the simplifications proposed by Güldemann (p. 4), but it must be acknowledged that Güldemann here designs spellings of language names and Elderkin investigates the origins of the complex phonetic click features found in Khoisan languages (p. 103). In order to lay the foundations, he introduces some generalities about Khoisan consonants, starting from Sandawe, and “morph” structures, starting from Khoekhoe (pp. 104–106). The bulk of the paper is dedicated to the Kx’a and Tuu families (pp. 106–119), represented by Juǀ’hoan (pp. 107–113) and Taa (pp. 114–119). Here, the author mainly presents tabulated statistics about the correlation between certain click accompaniments and certain tone patterns in lexical items. For example, a look at the overall situation in Juǀ’hoan (p. 108) shows immediately that some of the twelve click types do not or seldom occur with some of the five tone melodies. The number of items investigated is not large, of course, but the tendencies are obvious. To shed light on the distributions, the author investigates phonetic features such as glottalisation and pharyngealisation and finds that they influence tones (passim). Interestingly, he relates his “Firthian” concept of “prosody” for such features explicitly to Chadic languages (p. 110), which would need further discussion. The analyses of Khoe as well as Sandawe and Hadza (pp. 119–121) are surprisingly short, but this is partly due to the fact that the author has studied their tone systems elsewhere (see p. 307). In spite of this imbalance, this contribution to historical Khoisan phonology is truly an ambitious attempt at explaining some of the complexities.

Turning to the second part of the book, namely the Khoe-Kwadi family, the next paper is Wilfrid Haacke’s “Verb serialisation in northern dialects of Khoekhoegowab. Convergence or divergence?” (pp. 125–151). The author’s intention is to scrutinise the deviance of Haiǁom, ǂAakhoe and Sesfontein Damara from so-called “Mainstream Khoekhoegowab”, here in regard to complex verbs and challenging Güldemann’s view that the differences have come about through language contact (p. 128). A map indicates the various dialects in Namibia (p. 129), but it includes the misprints “Ludezrit” (instead of “Lüderitz”) and “Keetman shoop” (one word; the latter is not assigned a spot on the map). After a sound definition of serial verbs (p. 130), the author leaves no doubt that Khoe has such constructions: In Khoekhoe they involve “flip-flop” tone rules, yielding result and manner functions (pp. 131–133), while the famous juncture is present in West Kalahari Khoe, where the formal connection between the verb stems is not so close (pp. 133–135). Of the three northern Khoekhoe dialects, ǂAakhoe tends to use the juncture, but it is often omitted in Haiǁom and regularly in Sesfontein Damara (pp. 135–139). Since similar structures are diagnosed in Khoe languages which are not geographically adjacent, the author assumes a genealogical rather than areal development (pp. 142–143). Then follows an analysis of what he calls “biclausal” verbs in Khoekhoe (pp. 143–149): Here the subjects of the two verbs are different and the examples show hardly any use of the juncture. Borrowing from ǀXam is considered plausible in this case, but in the case of verb serialisation proper, a genealogical motivation in Khoe is definitely preferred and it is also backed by the typological structure of these languages (pp. 149–151).

In a similar way, Christian J. Rapold deals with “Areal and inherited aspects of compound verbs in Khoekhoe” (pp. 153–177). Considering the question of genealogical vs. areal features even in the title of his paper, he intends to show that, within Khoe, the segmental juncture of Kalahari Khoe is cognate with the flip-flop tone rule of Khoekhoe (pp. 153–154). At first glance, such an equation may seem somewhat odd, but, on the other hand, it simply rests on the assumption that Khoekhoe has historically lost a tone-bearing unit in this construction and developed floating tones. Thus, Güldemann’s contention that Khoekhoe compound verbs are widely borrowed from the Tuu family is weakened (pp. 154–156), even though the author admits considerable language contact between these two groups (pp. 156–159). The following sections are dedicated to data on the relevant constructions in Khoekhoe, including different semantic compound types (pp. 160–163), and in Kalahari Khoe (pp. 163–164). In the long-lasting discussion on the origin of the segmental juncture, the author pleads for a conjunction instead of a copula (pp. 164–166), which is understandable in the given context because a copula would add to the grammatical complexity of the compound verbs, while a conjunction rather coordinates them. However, the juncture in Kalahari Khoe is also used in certain tense-aspect forms and verb derivations and many of these grammatical suffixes have evolved from verb stems (pp. 166–169), in other words, these constructions are compounds as well. It is intriguing to see that similar or even the same tense-aspect forms and verb derivations in Khoekhoe include flip-flop tones in place of the segmental juncture (pp. 169–175). Due to this strong correspondence, the author finally assumes a common inherited marker for both phenomena, the segments of which have undergone erosion in Khoekhoe and occasionally in Kalahari Khoe (pp. 175–177). He had to refer to grammaticalised forms of verbs in the tense-aspect and derivation systems in order to achieve this conclusion, but his arguments seem sound enough.

The part on the Kx’a family begins with Florian Lionnet’s contribution “Demonstrative and relative constructions in Ju. A diachronic account” (pp. 181–207). He seeks to prove a historical connection in Proto-Ju between demonstrative and relative markers, both of which are said to derive from verbal demonstratives (p. 181). According to a table including some references and a map (pp. 182–183), four groups of Ju lects are assumed. It is not quite fortunate that the orthographies of the data in the paper are not wholly standardised (pp. 183–184), but perhaps this was not possible for all sources. The author gives several criteria for the verbal character of proximal and distal demonstratives in South-Eastern Ju (p. 186), although this verbal category is typologically very rare (p. 188) and although the same demonstratives and also adjectives can as well be non-verbal in North-Central Ju (pp. 189–192). Depending on the lect, the relative marker, the proximal demonstrative and even the copula can have the same segmental shape (pp. 192–194), but possible or actual (p. 192) tonal differences should be taken more serious in this respect. The author’s historical analysis of demonstratives, including a number of figures and tables on stated paths of development, reveals that South-Eastern Ju is rather archaic compared to Proto-Ju (pp. 196–198), while North-Central Ju has undergone more changes, which are outlined in detail (pp. 198–203). As an indication of the wide coverage of the paper, two kinds of problematic structures are briefly commented upon (pp. 203–205). The overall result is that Proto-Ju demonstratives have developed very differently in the different branches and that the impact of language contact on these developments cannot be assessed properly due to the lack of data (pp. 205–207). This agnostic statement notwithstanding, the paper is an inspiring account of Khoisan demonstratives, which are seldom studied in such detail.

A single Kx’a variety is featured in “Nǃaqriaxe (ǂ’Amkoe) spatial terms from a genealogical and areal perspective” by Linda Gerlach and Falko Berthold (pp. 209–232). As stated by Güldemann (p. 27), Nǃaqriaxe is a dialect of the ǂ’Amkoe language, while the better-known name “ǂHoan” refers to another dialect. The paper promises in its title to look at both genealogical and areal features, considering that not only words, but also grammaticalisation paths can be borrowed (pp. 209–210). First of all, however, it introduces still another Khoisan orthography (pp. 210–211), which is related to that used by Dickens (1994: 9–17) for Juǀ’hoan within the Kx’a family. Starting from a study by Heine and colleagues (p. 212), the authors assume virtually the same spatial categories for Nǃaqriaxe (p. 213) and they also find the same types of source nouns: Body part terms are amply reported as sources (pp. 214–215), while landmark terms are rare in this context (pp. 215–216). Several examples illustrate the possible syntactic environments of spatial terms, some of which occur with a postposition and others without (pp. 216–218). In their comprehensive historical discussion, the authors list several revealing cognate sets involving words from a number of Ju dialects (pp. 219–224), although these are spoken at a distance of 1000 kilometres from Nǃaqriaxe (p. 218). However, one verbal term and other terms as well as grammaticalisation paths are said to be borrowed from, or into, immediately neighbouring Khoe and Tuu languages (pp. 224–228). Thus, the wide spectrum of spatial vocabulary in the variety considered is based on multiple origins and it is by no means clear in all cases which explanation is preferable for a given term (pp. 228–230). A final table on all terms, their uses and similar words from other languages (pp. 231–232) concludes this concise survey of a rich word class.

The next contribution is “ǂ’Amkoe body part terminology in comparative perspective” (pp. 233–254) by Bonny Sands and the late Henry Honken, who wrote several papers on comparative Khoisan and also on single varieties over the decades (for some of them see p. 312). This is a classical essay about an essential portion of ǂ’Amkoe basic vocabulary and its origins, including both inherited and, strangely enough, borrowed words coming from Khoe and Tuu languages (p. 233). After some demographical details on the language (p. 234), it soon becomes clear that body part terms in Kx’a are semantically and structurally manifold (p. 235). Unfortunately, no efforts were made to standardise the spellings of segments (p. 236), but, for sure, this would have been a very painstaking task and it seems that the orthographies are consistent at least in the single sources (references are also given on p. 236). The first category of comparative series concerns synonyms, i.e. lexemes with the same English translation in the Juǀ’hoan dictionary by Dickens (1994), but with different meanings in ǂ’Amkoe, and cognates from other Khoisan languages are added with their meanings (pp. 236–243). The discussions of every single series are fine-grained and the authors carefully distinguish between genealogically and areally transmitted words. However, they do not succeed in all cases due to the complexity of sound correspondences and possible changes (p. 242 etc.). Further examples of words for specific body parts (pp. 243–246) show that, in most instances, the semantics of the forms are more obviously shared between Khoisan languages than phonetic or phonological shapes. This prevalence of common semantic patterns is especially interesting in the cases of “unusually-specific lexical items” (pp. 246–250) like ‘bleed from the nose’ (p. 247) and ‘muscles at the back of the thigh’ (p. 249), which have simplex lexemes distributed over several varieties, and stomach terms are often diverse as well (pp. 250–252). In sum, areal features, which normally have to be put aside in language comparison, seem to be abundant in Kx’a body part terms (p. 252), but it must also be remembered that the two sister languages Ju and ǂ’Amkoe are geographically far apart from each other (p. 218). Three tables indicating the most salient body part terms in several languages (pp. 253–254) are appended to this very detailed study.

The final part of the volume concerns the Tuu family and starts with observations on “The Lower Nossob varieties of Tuu: ǃUi, Taa or neither?” by Tom Güldemann (pp. 257–282), whose affiliation is written with another line break on p. 257 than on p. 1. Such details notwithstanding, this is one of the author’s efforts to make the best of the poor and mostly old sources on Tuu varieties (pp. 257–260); other studies of this kind are mentioned in the references (pp. 308–309). It is said in advance that the Lower Nossob group of varieties is genealogically close to Taa (p. 259), although abundant lexical borrowings from ǃUi underline the intense language contact between these groups (p. 261). The core section of the paper deals with two areas of morphosyntax, namely quantifier expressions (pp. 262–271) and nominal classes (pp. 271–281). In the Tuu-wide absence of complex grammatical systems for categories like tense, aspect or case, these seem to be the most promising areas for language comparison. The few extant quantifiers as such are presented briefly (pp. 262–263), while much more space is given to the constructions and environments in which they occur: In Taa, for example, they can be verbal, sometimes involving relative particles, or adjectival (pp. 263–267) and Lower Nossob has similar patterns including several kinds of particles, even though there are inevitably less data (pp. 267–270). It is also interesting to note in the context of historical Khoisan phonology, difficult as it is, that different click influxes may be cognate to or evolve from each other (pp. 267–268). After that, the nominal classes of Taa with their characteristic and typologically rare singular-plural pairings, vowels and semantics (pp. 271–274) are taken as a model which also fits the Lower Nossob data (pp. 274–281). There are surprisingly many examples from the ǀHaasi variety (pp. 275–278), but it is also intriguing that, as shown in a table (p. 279), almost all concord markers in these examples are based on the consonant k. Finally, the author presents his new and, after all, well-founded genealogical classification with a Taa-Lower Nossob family opposed to a ǃUi family (pp. 281–282).

Still in the Tuu part, the last paper of the volume is “Towards a genealogical classification of Taa dialects” by Christfried Naumann (pp. 283–301). Thus, it more or less concerns the internal dialectal situation of a single language and not really the question of one or several Khoisan families. As shown in two detailed maps (p. 284), though with “Leanardville” as one obvious misprint in the upper one (cf. p. 285), the Taa language is spread over a considerable stretch of land including a large number of localities. An alleged linguistic boundary between western and eastern varieties proves to be rather weak with regard to the nominal agreement system (pp. 285–287). Therefore, the author conducts a wider investigation into twenty varieties and presents 20 out of 39 diagnostic morphological and phonological features (p. 287) in order to establish new subgroups. Before further discussion, he adds his results in the form of a strictly hierarchical diagram, a table and another map (pp. 288–289): Taa has split stepwise into five dialect groups known as West ǃXoon, ǃAma, East ǃXoon, Tshaasi and ǂHuan. The major part of the paper is an illustration of features which divide West ǃXoon from East Taa (pp. 289–293), ǃAma from Eastern East Taa (pp. 293–295), East ǃXoon from Southeastern East Taa (pp. 295–297) and Tshaasi from ǂHuan (pp. 297–299). Here, the three remnant categories based on the name “East Taa” indeed imply that there is a west–east division within Taa dialects, but its boundary is very different from the one in Map 2 (p. 284). Most of the features on which the results are based concern shared agreement patterns, an array of particles or grammatical markers and also (p. 295) a distinct sound change. Not surprisingly, the data are not clear in all cases (p. 299) and it must be remembered that this is a broad study of 20 or even 39 features in twenty mostly understudied varieties. However, a more thorough paper on the same topic is said to be “in preparation” (p. 299) and the question marks in the synoptic table of features and varieties (pp. 300–301) are not so many that the basic outcomes of this contribution would need to be revised in the future.

After that follows the “Master list of references” (pp. 303–323), which is a combined bibliography for all contributions to the volume. Certainly, such a separate part including the cited literature instead of a number of single blocks makes sense in a collective volume on a rather restricted topic, although, for example, many of the works on genetics seem to occur only in the paper by Pakendorf (pp. 45–68). In spite of its length, it is felt that the bibliography lists only those sources which are actually cited in the book. It also includes “dois” (“Digital Object Identifiers”) for a lot of entries, even older works like a paper by Firth published in 1948 (p. 307), and it is fortunate that the whole list is available on the internet (https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/cilt.330/references) so that the reader need not type the long combinations of numbers and letters. However, while the articles are quite well-written, the bibliography contains a surprisingly large number of misprints and inconsequently used conventions. Consider p. 308 alone: apart from the fact mentioned above that Greenberg’s 1954 is missing entirely, Greenberg’s 1959 has “Melvin J. Herskovits” instead of “Melville J. Herskovits”; Güldemann’s 1998b is said to comprise more than 160 pages, but it has a bit more than 30; Güldemann’s 2000b includes place and publisher of the journal, although these are not mentioned elsewhere for journals; and Güldemann’s 2002c has the German word “Namens” with a capital “N”, which is wrong here. Similar issues can be observed on all pages of the bibliography and most of them are not too annoying as such, but their number is still irritating. Given the sensitive information and especially the data with their fine-grained orthographies discussed in the bulk of the volume, it is hoped that misprints are not so common there. The “Language (group) index” (pp. 325–327) is helpful, also due to the fact that languages, dialects and language groups are distinguished by different font styles, namely plain, italic and capital letters, respectively. The most obvious mistakes concern the missing headline of the “K” entries (p. 325) and the missing brackets with information on “’Nǀoha” (p. 327). In the “Subject index” (pp. 329–331), a few entries refer to the former index again and the only lament seems to point to the missing comma in the entry “typological (language) classification” (p. 331). The book closes with not less than nine empty pages.

These empty pages physically divide the main part from the back cover text discussed at the beginning of the present review and the reader is now challenged to find a deeper connection between the papers and this back cover text. In a radical way, it might be said that this would be a good book if it had something else written on the back cover. Most of the proposed analyses of interesting phenomena in all parts of Khoisan are rather sound, of course, and normally there would be no need to complain about a half-page text concluding a book of more than 300 pages. It is actually in honour of the volume and its manifold contents compiled by veterans as well as newcomers in the discipline that the present review has become so long. However, this manifold character of the book also gives rise to the inevitable impression that not every author can have the aim to shatter the concept of a single Khoisan language family as it is done in the back cover text. If this was intended by the editors (and intentions in science only make sense if they are open to any possible results), then the conclusion must be that the overall findings presented in the volume are not solid enough to suggest any large-scale genealogical classification of Khoisan languages. Such a task would have to be achieved in a historical-comparative monograph and not in a collective volume with papers, for example, on compound verbs in one language cluster (pp. 153–177), on demonstrative and relative structures in another language cluster (pp. 181–207) and on dialects in a third language (pp. 283–301). This is not to discredit the studies which are gathered in the book and most of which can be considered excellent because they shed light on hitherto neglected facts, even if, as usual, some claims must remain speculations. It is just a caveat saying that there is still a long way to go before the evidence will be strong enough to state relationships between the various Khoisan families and groups defined here.


  • Dickens Patrick J. 1994. English – Juǀ’hoan / Juǀ’hoan – English Dictionary. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

  • Greenberg Joseph H. 1954. Studies in African linguistic classification: viii. Further remarks on method: revisions and corrections. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 10(4): 4054151 map.

  • Treis Yvonne . 1998. Names of Khoisan languages and their variants. In Schladt Mathias (ed.) Language Identity and Conceptualization among the Khoisan463503. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

  • Vossen Rainer (ed.). 2013. The Khoesan Languages. London / New York: Routledge.

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2014. Beyond ‘Khoisan’. Historical Relations in the Kalahari Basin, edited by Tom Güldemann and Anne-Maria Fehn

in Journal of Language Contact


Dickens Patrick J. 1994. English – Juǀ’hoan / Juǀ’hoan – English Dictionary. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Greenberg Joseph H. 1954. Studies in African linguistic classification: viii. Further remarks on method: revisions and corrections. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 10(4): 4054151 map.

Treis Yvonne . 1998. Names of Khoisan languages and their variants. In Schladt Mathias (ed.) Language Identity and Conceptualization among the Khoisan463503. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Vossen Rainer (ed.). 2013. The Khoesan Languages. London / New York: Routledge.

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