Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses the internal classification of East Cushitic, alongside a brief history of the debate, and different classificatory proposals. The aim being genetic classification, typological and areal features are mentioned only in so far as they impinge on matters of genetic subgrouping. The chapter proposes a classification based upon shared innovations and successive binary splits. The soundness of the old and elusive concept of “Lowland East Cushitic” is discussed. In the end, an overarching opposition between a Lowland and Highland branch is proposed, with the latter being the result of specific innovations. Within Lowland, the development (not shared by Saho-Afar) of preverbal subject clitics gave rise to a majority group (Southern Lowland), which was in its turn split into a Nuclear subgroup made up of Oromoid and Omo-Tana (with Oromo and Somali as major representatives), with the Dullay cluster and Yaaku as residual peripheral languages (possibly a genetic subgroup of its own).
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