Ownby, Carolan Postma 1985

Ownby, Carolan Postma. 1985. Early Nguni History: the Linguistic Evidence and Its Correlation With Archaeology and Oral Tradition (South Africa). Ann Arbor: UMI. (Doctoral dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles; 319pp.)

@phdthesis{7326,
  address               = {Ann Arbor},
  author                = {Ownby, Carolan Postma},
  pages                 = {319},
  publisher             = {UMI},
  school                = {University of California at Los Angeles},
  title                 = {Early Nguni History: the Linguistic Evidence and Its Correlation With Archaeology and Oral Tradition (South Africa)},
  year                  = {1985},
  abstract              = {The historiography of the Nguni-speaking people of South Africa has long been dominated by the contradictory collections of oral tradition by A. T. Bryant and J. H. Soga, particularly for the early period, from about 1000 A.D. to the beginning of pre-colonial state formation in Natal. Bryant relied on linguistic data, in particular the classification of Nguni tongues, to reconstruct an early history. That standard classification, used even now, is based on the 'zunda/tekela' distinction, but this phonological difference is better thought of as a product of linguistic drift and areal influence. A classification based on the examination of Nguni vocabularies provides a firmer base, and together with evidence taken from borrowed vocabulary in Nguni, lays the foundations for a history of social interchange, ethnic shift, and economic change over the past 1500 years. In the latter part of the first millenium the eastern portion of South Africa just above and below the escarpment was inhabited by different populations of Khoisan, as well as speakers of a pre-Shona language, here called Sala. Nguni speakers began expanding in this environment at about 1000 A.D. and, though originally a minority, were gradually able to consolidate the majority under their power. The likely agency of this process was their apparent redefinition of cattle as wealth. This pattern of interaction continued through successive stages of development lasting into more recent centuries. The linguistic data agrees with the archaeological evidence, which supports the presence, in Natal and Transkei prior to 1000 A.D., of non-Nguni Bantu speaking peoples and Stone Age groups relatable to the Khoisan, and indicates a major cultural changeover at about 1000 A.D., in which cattle became far more prominent. Finally, Nguni oral tradition widely preserves a motif of the usurper to a position of authority which, from its apparent antiquity, appears to address the very early consolidation of power by Nguni-speakers. In short, the correlation of the three differing yet complementary kinds of evidence reveals a dynamic and consistent picture of the broad cultural and economic history of the region.},
  class_loc             = {LD791.9},
  degree                = {PhD},
  digital_formats       = {PDF 9.99Mb image-only PDF},
  document_type         = {B},
  fn                    = {africa\ownby_nguni1986_o.pdf, africa\ownby_correlation1985.pdf, africa\ownby _nguni1986_o.pdf},
  hhtype                = {overview;comparative},
  inlg                  = {English [eng]},
  keywords              = {;saf;swz;rsa;arc;ltr;lng;rcn;bnt;s.41;s.42;s.43;n.121;w.300;ths;},
  lgcode                = {Swati [ssw], Xhosa [xho], Zulu [zul] (autotranslated from Maho's coding system)},
  macro_area            = {Africa},
  mpi_eva_library_shelf = {LD 791 .9 OWN 2007},
  mpifn                 = {nguni_ownby1986_o.pdf},
  source                = {DAI-A 47/04, p. 1450, Oct 1986},
  src                   = {eballiso2009, hh, mpieva, weball},
  subject               = {HISTORY, AFRICAN (0331)},
  subject_headings      = {Nguni (African people) – History, Nguni languages, Nguni (African people) – History – Nguni languages},
  umi_id                = {8614114}
}
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AU  - Ownby, Carolan Postma
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TI  - Early Nguni History: the Linguistic Evidence and Its Correlation With Archaeology and Oral Tradition (South Africa)
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AB  - The historiography of the Nguni-speaking people of South Africa has long been dominated by the contradictory collections of oral tradition by A. T. Bryant and J. H. Soga, particularly for the early period, from about 1000 A.D. to the beginning of pre-colonial state formation in Natal. Bryant relied on linguistic data, in particular the classification of Nguni tongues, to reconstruct an early history. That standard classification, used even now, is based on the ’zunda/tekela’ distinction, but this phonological difference is better thought of as a product of linguistic drift and areal influence. A classification based on the examination of Nguni vocabularies provides a firmer base, and together with evidence taken from borrowed vocabulary in Nguni, lays the foundations for a history of social interchange, ethnic shift, and economic change over the past 1500 years. In the latter part of the first millenium the eastern portion of South Africa just above and below the escarpment was inhabited by different populations of Khoisan, as well as speakers of a pre-Shona language, here called Sala. Nguni speakers began expanding in this environment at about 1000 A.D. and, though originally a minority, were gradually able to consolidate the majority under their power. The likely agency of this process was their apparent redefinition of cattle as wealth. This pattern of interaction continued through successive stages of development lasting into more recent centuries. The linguistic data agrees with the archaeological evidence, which supports the presence, in Natal and Transkei prior to 1000 A.D., of non-Nguni Bantu speaking peoples and Stone Age groups relatable to the Khoisan, and indicates a major cultural changeover at about 1000 A.D., in which cattle became far more prominent. Finally, Nguni oral tradition widely preserves a motif of the usurper to a position of authority which, from its apparent antiquity, appears to address the very early consolidation of power by Nguni-speakers. In short, the correlation of the three differing yet complementary kinds of evidence reveals a dynamic and consistent picture of the broad cultural and economic history of the region.
ID  - 7326
U1  - Ph.D. thesis
ER  - 
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