© 2010 Linsen. All rights reserved. Soli & Koranna

From the Annals: Soli & Koranna

During my last Xhosa class, I asked my lecturer whether there is currently much research into Khoisan (“bushman”) languages, especially given the increasingly few native speakers left. She said that there is still some, especially from German researchers, and further she gave me the following two gems for perusal: Studies oor Korannataal and The grammar of Soli.

Dating from 1928 and 1936 respectively, they present research into the workings of these two languages. The first, Koranna, is a Khoisan language and I could find very little familiar there. I did, however, see the word aba (to carry a baby on one’s back), which has been borrowed into Afrikaans. The second, Soli, is clearly a Bantu language, and even with my rudimentary knowledge of Xhosa the relationship is clear to me, both in terms of grammar and vocabulary.

It is always humbling to be reminded that decades or centuries ago, people were already conducting proper research, and knew far more about their subjects than I am likely ever to. There is so much of interest in the world…

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