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LINGUIST List 18.2810

Thu Sep 27 2007

Diss: Historical Ling: Wenger: 'Lotos, Hand und zweimal Mond'

Editor for this issue: Luiza Newlin Lukowicz <luizalinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Barbara Wenger, Lotos, Hand und zweimal Mond

Message 1: Lotos, Hand und zweimal Mond
Date: 27-Sep-2007
From: Barbara Wenger <wengeruni-mainz.de>
Subject: Lotos, Hand und zweimal Mond
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Institution: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Program: Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Barbara Wenger

Dissertation Title: Lotos, Hand und zweimal Mond

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Family(ies): Afroasiatic

Dissertation Director:
Paul P. De Wolf
Stig Eliasson

Dissertation Abstract:

Cardinal numerals, especially the lower ones, are often considered
linguistically stable and seldom subject to loan processes. So they seem to
offer a perfect basis for studying genetical relations between different

On a broad scale, this study synchronically and diachronically deals with
the question if and how far this postulation can be maintained with respect
to Afroasiatic languages, i.e. the languages of the Egyptian, Semitic,
Berber (including Guanche), Cushitic and Omotic branch.

Not only the numerals themselves, but also their syntax and numeral systems
are taken into consideration. The study covers approximately 100 languages
and dialects.

To give the reader the opportunity to judge for himself, all sources are
first quoted in their original transcriptions with the author's
explanations; afterwards they are standardized to simplify the comparison.
In the diachronic approach, sometimes two or more sources for one language
are considered to cover an extensive time span in documentation. Wherever
possible, reconstructions are offered, preferably at different historical

The results of the study show that the above mentioned theory is only
partially valid for those Afroasiatic languages. In fact, especially the
lower numerals are exposed to changes, either through borrowing or through
internal substitution. Often the reasons for these changes are determined
more by cultural than by linguistic influences; in those cases, the reasons
are discussed as well.

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