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The Modern Languages of Africa

Abstract

WHY this work has been restricted to the “modern” languages of Africa is not apparent, seeing that there are not half a dozen ancient or extinct African tongues altogether of which science has any knowledge. The limitation is the more remarkable that every one of these ancient tongues is duly recorded and dealt with in its place, partly lest it should “seem to have been overlooked,” partly seemingly for no other reason than that the author has forgotten the restriction so needlessly imposed upon himself. Yet when we are told that Gíz, the most important of them next to Old Egyptian, “may be deemed the Lingua Franca of Abyssinia”! (p. 88), and when Rinn's remark on the possible reconstruction of an Archaic Berber “offering analogies to the languages of High Asia” (p. 105) is quoted without comment, one begins to feel that after all it might have been wise to have adhered to the restriction.

A Sketch of the Modern Languages of Africa, accompanied by a Language Map.

By Robert Needham Cust. 2 vols. (London: Trübner, 1883.)

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