a word from Vocabulary Swahili
|Word meaning:||front, in front|
|Grammatical info:||n 9, n 9 as head of GenP|
|Comments on word:||mbele ya nyumba [in.front of house]|
An attempt has been made to estimate the age of each word. In the case of words that are unlikely to have been borrowed, the level to which a word can be reconstructed provides a hypotheses for its estimated minimum age. Lexical reconstructions and dates for the three proto-languages follow Nurse and Hinnebusch 1993. No further claims are made about intermediate branches between proto-North-Eeat-Coast and proto-Bantu. Non-borrowed words for which we have no reconstructions are all assigned to the “pre-modern” Swahili period.
earlier Bantu -3000 – 1 CE
proto-North-East-Coast 1 – 500
proto-Sabaki 500 – 700
proto-Swahili 700 – 800
pre-modern Swahili 800 – 1940
The database contains almost no probable loanwords for the reconstructed stages, but loans form a large group of lexical innovations at later stages. The age of words and phrases for which we have no reconstructions and that are not identified as probable loans has been classified as “no information”.
The remaining age categories are:
1500 – 1700 loans from Portuguese
1800 – 1940 mainly loans from English
1940 – 2000 mainly loans from English
The year 1940 is a convenient cut-off date since two leading Swahili dictionaries were published in 1939 (Sacleux and Johnson).
|earlier Bantu (-3000–1)|