Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory

Issue 25 · Summer 1995

Ehret Alters Nilo-Saharan Taxonomy

Courtesy of Franz Rottland, we have a report of a new scheme for internal taxonomy of N-S. Chris Ehret presented it in Los Angeles in March. (Let -> mean 'rewrite')

There are some surprises in this. Koman does deserve its special status, as do Central Sudanic and Kunama. Songhay is startling because so many people are trying to get it out of N-S into a group with Basque or Niger-Congo. Outside of Koman, the group I know best is Eastern Sudanic where I find Ehret's scheme entirely credible, especially the placing of the Kuliak group.

The weights of the branches in N-S suggest that the Sudan (Republic) and the Nile system are the homeland of this great phylum. This repeats a conclusion I reached in 1965; it was less well supported.

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(c) 1996 Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory