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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the Central Cushitic (hereafter CC) language family, one of four branches of Cushitic. CC, traditionally known as Agäw, contains four languages: Awŋi, Bilin, Kemantney, and Xamt’aŋa. Apart from Bilin, which is spoken in Eritrea, the CC languages are spoken in the central highlands of Ethiopia. The name CC was evidently given to Agäw on account of the geographical distribution of the North, South, East and the then West Cushitic (later Omotic) subgroups. The morphology, especially the verb morphology, identifies the CC languages as Cushitic, but they are classified as a separate branch of Cushitic on the basis of salient features exhibited in them. CC languages exhibit striking similarities in the lexicon, and due to longstanding language contact there exists much inter-influence with the Ethio-Semitic languages. These and other linguistic properties of CC are discussed in this chapter.

Keywords: Agäw, Central Cushitic, Awŋi, Bilin, Kemantney, Xamt’aŋa, salient feature

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