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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with ethnobotany, folk taxonomy, and African languages. In its first part people’s structuring of the plant kingdom with particular reference to life forms, and generic and specific taxa is discussed. Reference is made to relevant folk taxonomic terms and plant names in Bantu languages from East Africa, especially Tanzania, Namibia, to some extent also from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. It is interesting to note that on top of widespread taxa like TREE or PLANT habitat-related life forms were traced in various languages such as CLIMBER, VINE in Vidunda or BUSH, SHRUB in Kwangali, and THORN TREE in Ndonga, as well as other specific taxa. In this respect sub-life forms were also recorded and examples given. The second part of the chapter focuses on folk conceptualization and the system of Bantu noun classes.

Keywords: ethnobotany, folk taxonomy, plant taxon, Bantu, life form, generic, specific, noun class

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