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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter surveys the history of classification of Mande languages from the first attempts in 1849 to the most recent ones on the basis of quantitative approaches to language classification, linguistic reconstruction, and theories on language stability. It discusses various proposals for the internal genealogical relationship of Mande languages and examines their advances and differences in the light of methodological aspects and availability of reliable linguistic data. Special emphasis is laid on the historical tan/fu dichotomy and its revision. Typological issues are treated in the discussion of Mande-specific typological obstacles for lexicostatistic classification. The problem of internal convergence for the linguistic classification of Mande is exemplified in particular in accounting the impact of Greater Manding. The effect of changes in classification methodology by the introduction of phylogenetic methods and theoretical assumptions about language stability are addressed in the final discussion of a revised classification of Mande.

Keywords: Mande, Manding, linguistic classification, lexicostatistic classification, language stability, phylogenetic method

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