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Reconstruction through ‘de-construction’: The marking of person, gender, and number in the Khoe family and Kwadi

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Kwadi is a virtually unknown and probably extinct click language of southwestern Angola. It has thus far not been assigned conclusively to any genealogical language group in Africa. Apart from being subsumed under the non-genealogical label ‘Khoisan’, the only concrete hypothesis has been to affiliate it with the Khoe family, also known as Central Khoisan. Based on my own analysis of the available linguistic data, the first systematic treatment to have been undertaken, the paper provides first empirical substantiation for this hypothesis by presenting evidence for numerous commonalities between the Khoe family and Kwadi involving the marking of person, gender, and number. The resulting reconstruction of Proto-Khoe-Kwadi forms and their organization in a so-called ‘minimal-augmented’ pronoun system also sheds new light on the design of the marking system of Proto-Khoe.
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Keywords: Khoe; Khoisan; Kwadi; gender; number; person; pronoun

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Antropology

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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