Resolving phonological variability in Bantu lexical reconstructions: the case of 'to bake in ashes'.
Culture & Society
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The current number of Bantu lexical reconstructions is seriously inflated due to our partial understanding of diachronic semantic and phonological changes. The online Bantu Lexical Reconstructions 3 (Bastin & Schadeberg 2003) database holds numerous homophonous reconstructions having related meanings as well as multiple synonymic reconstructions whose phonological shape is only minimally dissimilar. This phenomenon is also known as osculance in Bantu studies (Guthrie 1967-1971). In this paper we argue that phonological variability in Bantu lexical reconstructions can often be resolved through a careful reanalysis of synonymic near-homophones. We demonstrate how the osculant quadruplet ° bùmb /° dùmbIk /° bùmbIk /° gùmbIk meaning to bake in ashes can be reduced to one common Proto-Bantu form and evaluate what implications this has with respect to the history of this particular culinary technique in Bantu speech communities.
CitationRicquier, B.; Bostoen, K. (2008). Resolving phonological variability in Bantu lexical reconstructions: the case of 'to bake in ashes'.. , Africana Linguistica, Vol. 14, 109-149,