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An analysis of an endangered language - the Kami in Tanzania

This project involves the documentation and analysis of an endangered language referred to as Kami, spoken in the Morogoro region in Tanzania, approximately 150 km from Dar es Salaam. The purpose of the project is to (i) document this endangered variety for both linguistic and speaker communities and, (ii) analyse the structure of the language and relate the new findings to current linguistic assumptions especially related to comparative Bantu. As such the project has both documentary and theoretical aims.

The study will comprise a grammar of Kami, i.e. the phonological, morphological and syntactic structures, and build on, as well as develop, linguistic criteria for comparing neighbouring Bantu languages. The main method is elicitation, supplemented by interviews and recordings of speech.

It is vital to describe undescribed languages before the process of decline has gone too far: not just for the obvious benefit of the contemporary speakers, but also to contribute to linguistics as a science. Every described language provides us with a wider knowledge of what grammatical constructions are possible in a language, and how the human linguistic ability functions. The theoretical framework this work follows, Basic Linguistic Theory, is advantageous in that it makes the data available to all linguists and not just those that are familiar with a certain theory.

Contact Information

Malin Petzell

Box 200, 405 30 Göteborg

Page Manager: Annika Andersson|Last update: 4/22/2010

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