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Khoisan:see African languagesAfrican languages,
geographic rather than linguistic classification of languages spoken on the African continent. Historically the term refers to the languages of sub-Saharan Africa, which do not belong to a single family, but are divided among several distinct linguistic stocks.
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(from khoi-khoi-n, self-designation of the Hottentots, and san, their name for the Bushmen), a term introduced in the early 20th century by the English ethnographer I. Schapera, in particular to describe the languages of the indigenous population of South Africa, the Bushmen and Hottentots. Subsequent research into the languages of the Bushmen has shown that they differ sharply from those of the Hottentots (according to the structure of the language as a whole). The American linguist J. H. Greenberg has continued to combine them under the name “Khoisan languages” on the basis of lexical parallels; however, regular sound correspondences have not been found, and their relationship, as well as the name “Khoisan languages,” remains debatable.
REFERENCESSchapera, I. The Khoisan Peoples of South Africa. London, 1930.
Westphal, E. O. I. “The Non-Bantu Languages of Southern Africa.” In A. N. Tucker and M. A. Bryan, The Non-Bantu Languages of North-Eastern Africa: Supplement, vol. 3. Oxford, 1956.
Westphal, E. O. I. “On Classifying Bushman and Hottentot Languages.” In African Language Studies, vol. 3. London, 1962.
Westphal, E. O. I. “A Re-classification of Southern African Non-Bantu Languages.” Journal of African Languages, 1962, vol. 1.
Greenberg, J. H. Languages of Africa. The Hague, 1963.
D. A. OL’DEROGGE