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Series: Namibian African Studies, Vol. 4
The contributions to this volume on Namibian languages were occasioned for different purposes. Hence they are of quite varied nature and format.
All of them, except the paper by W. Mohlig, were initially presented at the international conference on Language Ecology in Africa, hosted by the Department of African Languages of the former University of Namibia, which at that time was incorporated in The Academy, Windhoek.
The purpose of that conference was to re-establish international dialogue with fellow Africanists. On this occasion preliminary reports were also to be presented on a departmental project entitled A Dialect Survey of the Major African Languages of Namibia.
This project had been initiated by W. Haacke in 1986 as an umbrella project to facilitate research by Namibian and foreign researchers into Namibian languages.The terms of reference were kept deliberately non-specific, so as to allow researchers to investigate any matters deemed most relevant in a particular language, albeit with a comparative bias.
Of the contributions in this volume the reports by the following authors emanated directly from this project: E. Baumbach (Caprivi languages), D. Fourie (on Oshimbalanhu of the Wambo group; other dialects were covered elsewhere), J. Snyman (Julh'oan), and W. Haacke, E. Eiseb & L. Namaseb (Khoekhoegowab).
As the investigation of Kavango languages was abandoned prematurely through an act of fate, W. Mohlig kindly filled the hiatus by providing his contribution on the strength of data collected through field work undertaken in the 1970s. The survey on Otjiherero dialects in Kaokoland by J. Kavari was included in the journal Logos vol. 13 (1993). The report by E. Baumbach was kindly edited for this volume by E. Elderkin, now of the Department of African Languages, UNAM.
It was deemed practical to include other conference papers on Namibian African languages in this volume with the reports on the said Dialect Survey, rather than with those sociolinguistic and literary papers on diverse topics that constitute volumes 13 and 14 of Logos (1993/4). Such papers that were included here are the contributions by P. Dickens (Jul'hoan), Th. Widlok (Haillom), L. Anderson (Yeyi) and D. Gowlett (Yeyi).
Most of the survey reports were presented in a preliminary form at the conference in 1991, and needed extensive refinement for publication. Analytical and technical processing and - not least -the transition from the erstwhile Academy to the present University of Namibia, which also involved the rehousing of this series under its new name with the Rudiger Koppe publishing house in Germany, has caused further delays in the finalization of this project.
It is hoped that, after all, this volume will serve to invigorate the interest in Namibian African languages and to correlate ongoing linguistic research conducted locally and in neighbouring countries. The extensive financial assistance of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) within he framework of the interdisciplinary research unit ACACIA (SFB 389) at the University of Cologne, towards the publication of this volume is hereby gratefully acknowledged. Needless to say, the opinions expressed by the authors need not be those of this foundation.
- A Preliminary Classification fo the !Xuu and 2ul'hoasi Dialects
MPLA songs during the war for independence in south-east Angola (1966-1975); J. W. Snyman
- A Dialectometrical Analysis of the Main Kavango Languages: Kwangali, Gciriku and Mbukushu; W.J.G. Mohlig
- Aspects of Yeyi Diachronic Phonology; D.F. Gowlett
- Seyeyi revisited. Prospects for the Future of a Threatened Language; L.-G. Andersson
- The Linguistic Position of Oshimbalanhu within the Wambo Group; D.J. Fourie
- Bantu Languages of the Eastern Caprivi; E.J.M. Baumbach