Historical review of the nomenclature applied to Negro languages

Formerly linguistic research on classification of Negro languages shows a strong tendency to group African languages under two broad headings: the Sudanic and the Bantu languages. This paper reviews a series of publications and researches on naming and subdividing East- and West-African languages and discusses the theories behind those early linguistic analyses, which were not seldom highly confused with racial and cultural principles of classification. In 1963 the Negro linguistic situation was clarified by J. Greenberg’s revolutionary publication of ‘Languages of Africa’. In this work he reclassifies the African languages into four superfamilies or stocks, by which he starts from the principle of the unity of all Negro languages. Notes, bibl.

Title: Historical review of the nomenclature applied to Negro languages
Author: Jeffreys, M.D.W.
Year: 1971
Periodical: African Studies
Volume: 30
Issue: 3
Pages: 277-297
Language: English
Geographic term: Subsaharan Africa
Subject: language classification
External link: https://doi.org/10.1080/00020187108707363
Abstract: Formerly linguistic research on classification of Negro languages shows a strong tendency to group African languages under two broad headings: the Sudanic and the Bantu languages. This paper reviews a series of publications and researches on naming and subdividing East- and West-African languages and discusses the theories behind those early linguistic analyses, which were not seldom highly confused with racial and cultural principles of classification. In 1963 the Negro linguistic situation was clarified by J. Greenberg’s revolutionary publication of ‘Languages of Africa’. In this work he reclassifies the African languages into four superfamilies or stocks, by which he starts from the principle of the unity of all Negro languages. Notes, bibl.