Dimensions of variability in Northern Khoekhoe language and culture
SourceSouthern African Humanities, 20, 1, (2008), pp. 133-161
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Southern African Humanities
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
This article takes an interdisciplinary route towards explaining the complex history of Haillom culture and language. We begin this article with a short review of ideas relating to 'origins' and historical reconstructions as they are currently played out among Khoekhoe groups in Namibia, in particular with regard to the Haillom. We then take a comparative look at parts of the kinship system and the tonology of Akhoe Haillom and other variants of Khoekhoe. With regard to the kinship and naming system, we see patterns that show similarities with Nama and Damara oil the one hand but also with 'San' groups oil the otherhand. With regard to tonology, new data from three northern Khoekoe varieties shows similarities as well as differences with Standard Namibian Khoekhoe and Ju and Tuu varieties. The historical scenarios that might explain these facts suggest different centres of innovations and opposite directions of diffusion. The anthropological and linguistic data demonstrates that only a fine-grained and multi-layered approach that goes far beyond any simplistic dichotomies can do justice to the Haillom riddle.
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