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General stuff



These pages
were created
by Jouni Maho.


The distribution of remnant languages
click for full size image

Remnant African languages

Remnant African languages refers here to some 20 unclassified languages (see map), half of which are extinct. For lack of a better solution, I have also placed Malagasy (Africa's only Austronesian language) on this page.

Several languages listed on the Khoesan and Nilosaharan pages could also have been listed here, but have been left where they are for convenience (at least for the time being).


Bender, Marvin Lionel. 1983. Remnant languages of Ethiopia and Sudan. In: Nilo-Saharan language studies (ed. by Marvin Lionel Bender), p. 336-354. African Studies Center, Michigan State University.

Blench, Roger M. 1999. Are the African pygmies an ethnographic fiction? In: Central African hunter-gatherers in a multidisciplinary perspective (ed. by Karen Biesbrouck, Stefan Elders & Gerda Rossel), p. 41-60. Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS).

Crozier, David Henry; Blench, Roger M. 1992. An index of Nigerian languages. 2nd edition. Language Development Centre at the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at University of Ilorin, and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

Maho, Jouni Filip. 2004. How many languages are there in Africa, really? In: Globalisation and African languages: risks and benefits (ed. by Katrin Bromber & Birgit Smieja), p. 279-296. Mouton de Gruyter.

Sommer, Gabi. 1992. A survey on language death in Africa. In: Language death: factual and theoretical explorations with special reference to East Africa (ed. by Matthias Brenzinger), p. 301-417. Mouton de Gruyter.

General, comparative, miscellaneous back to top »

The Ethnologue, web edition. SIL International.

Wikipedia has a growing amount of information on various African languages, be they classified or not.

Bangi-me < unclassified African language (Map 19) back to top »

Dogon and Bangi Me Linguistics

Roger M. Blench, 2005
Bangi me, a language of unknown affiliation in northern Mali (PDF). Mallam Dendo, Cambridge.

Cen Tuum, Jalaa < unclassified African language (Map 13) back to top »

The Jalaa language.

Laal, Gori < unclassified African language (Map 14) back to top »

The Laal language.

Malagasy < Austronesian back to top »

Dictionnaire français malgache sommaire, avec grammaire, traductions, chansons, etc..

Jean-François Baré, 1974
La terminologie de parenté Sakalava du nord (Madagascar): règles sémantiques, règles sociologiques. L'homme, v. 14 (49), p. 5-41.

Roger M. Blench
The Austronesians in Madagascar and their interaction with the Bantu of the East African coast: surveying the linguistic evidence for domestic and translocated animals (PDF). Mallam Dendo, Cambridge.

Edward L. Keenan, Cecile Manorohanta, 2000
A quantitative study of voice on Malagasy (PDF).

Edward L. Keenan, Baholisoa Ralalaoherivony, 1998
Raising from NP in Malagasy (PDF).

Edward L. Keenan, Jean Paul Razafimamonjy, 2000
Reciprocals in Malagasy (PDF).

Paul Law, 2005
Questions and clefts in Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 195-209.

Ying Lin, 2005
Two perspectives on Malagasy reduplication: derivational and OT analyses (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 255-271.

Andrew Martin, 2005
Loanwords as pseudo-compounds in Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 287-295.

Dimitris Ntelitheos, 2005
Malagasy participant nominalizations: a structural account (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 313-327.

Dimitris Ntelitheos, 2005
Root infinitives in Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 329-342.

Philip M. Parker
Malagasy English dictionary.

Ileana M. Paul, 2005
Or, wh- and not: free choice and polarity in Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 359-367.

Matthew Pearson, 2005
Tense (mis)matches between verbs and abliques in Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 369-382.

Lisa Demena Travis, 2005
Passives, states, and roots and Malagasy (PDF). From: UCLA working papers in linguistics, v. 12, p. 395-409.

Meroitic < unclassified African language (Map 1) back to top »

CORR Kirsty Rowan, 2006
A phonological investigation into the Meroitic 'syllable' signs: 'ne' and 'se' and their implications on the 'e' sign (PDF). SOAS working papers in linguistics, v. 14, p. 131-167.

CORR Kirsty Rowan, 2006
Meroitic: an Afroasiatic language? (PDF). SOAS working papers in linguistics, v. 14, p. 169-206.

Ongota, Birale, Shanqilla < unclassified African language (Map 16) back to top »

Klaus Wedekind, 2002
Sociolinguistic survey report of the languages of the Gawwada, Tsamaya and Diraasha areas, with excursions to Birayle (Ongota) and Arbore (Irbore) - Part II (PDF). SIL electronic survey report SILESR 2002-066.

Oropom < unclassified African language (Map 8) back to top »

Lameen Souag
Oropom etymological lexicon (PDF).

The Oropom language.

Shabo < unclassified African language (Map 15) back to top »

Anbessa Teferra, 1991
A sketch of Shabo grammar (PDF). (ED371607)

The Shabo language with a lexicon.

Weyto < unclassified African language (Map 6) back to top »

The Weyto language.

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