Abstract and Keywords
The Chadic family is best known by Hausa and its 45 million speakers, while the other 170 or so languages count between 500,000 and a few thousand. Given their common genetic origin, what does it mean to be a Chadic language, not only in terms of retentions and innovations from their common Afro-Asiatic origin, but also from a typological point of view? The chapter begins by listing and locating the Chadic languages, while making an attempt at estimating their number of speakers. It then characterizes the typical Chadic language, describing its phonology, morphology, sentence structure, and function marking. The next section studies the relationship between Chadic and Afro-Asiatic in terms of retention and innovation. The section after that explores the typology of the Chadic family and its relationship with the Macro-Sudan belt and Africa as a linguistic area. The conclusion presents a brief assessment of the development of Chadic linguistics.
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