Abstract and Keywords
Atlantic is one of the controversial branches of the Niger-Congo language family. Both its validity as a genetic group and its internal classification are far from being settled. The longstanding debate on the status and structure of Atlantic cannot be closed before the descriptive situation of these languages allows for sufficient and reliable lexical data; before attempts at applying the comparative method have been made; and before the extensive role of language contact for shaping the languages in question is taken into account. Although no typological feature or feature combinations characterizes the group as a whole, several features are considered typical for Atlantic languages, including noun class systems, consonant mutation, and complex systems of verbal derivation, which have been used to justify suggested genealogical groupings. Atlantic languages, with the exception of Fula, are attested in an area from Liberia to Senegal, stretching from the Atlantic coast to the hinterland.
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