Lexicostatistical Studies in East Sudanic II: The Case of Nyimang
George Starostin (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow; Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 18/1-2, 2020 - p.111-125
Abstract: The paper continues the authorʼs efforts to build up a lexicostatistical basis for the hypothesis of a genetic relationship between several African language groups and families collectively known as «East Sudanic». Here, on the basis of lexical comparison between core basic vocabularies, I argue that the small Nyimang language group of the Nuba Mountains is indeed genetically related to the «core Northeast Sudanic» trio of Nubian, Nara, and Tama, rather than to the much more distantly related Temein languages, also found in the Nuba Mountains. However, this relation may be even more distant than the one between Nubian, Nara, and Tama themselves. Additionally, it is shown that this issue is difficult to resolve without bringing into the comparison at least a limited amount of data from other potentially East Sudanic languages, bringing out the limitations of purely binary (or even ternary) comparison when it comes to establishing the genetic affiliation of small and chronologically remote linguistic entities.
Keywords: East Sudanic languages, Nubian languages, Nara language, Nyimang languages, Tama languages, Temein languages, lexicostatistics, basic vocabulary