Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268
- 02, 161
The Benue-Gongola-Chad Basin : zone of ethnic and linguistic compression
- We wish to emphasize the fact that so far our investigations have concentrated on documenting large bodies of data covering a number of linguistic units in an area which - as we hope to have demonstrated - displays a highly complex linguistic and ethnic structure. Our aim in the above remarks is essentially to throw out a challenge. In order to be able to interpret this situation in terms of the historic development of this zone of compression, further investigations are required, particularly regarding linguistic interference between Chadic and Niger-Congo languages in the south, as well as between Chadic and Nilo-Saharan languages, particularly Kanuri in the north-east and Songhay in the north-west. Ultimately, questions like the following are at stake: To what extent did the numerous Chadic languages preserve their original Hamitosemitic heritage? What is the impact of the Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages on individual Chadic languages in the respective border areas? In this context, detailed comparative studies between Chadic and Adamawa on the one hand, Chadic and Jukunoid and Chadic and Jarawan Bantu on the other hand as well as Chadic internal research, are urgently required.