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Ethnologue Entries

From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 5, 2000, 23:21
     I've decided to throw my hat into the ring with five new Ethnologue

AFAR (AFAR, LIMBA AFRICAN)[AFA] 12,500,000 - 13,000,000 in all countries.
Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Southern, Afer.  Dialects: Tripolitanian,
African, Mauritanian.  No one form of Afer is selected as standard for
literary purposes.  An extinct form of the language, Old Afer, is used for
literary and teaching purposes.  There is a growing movement to recognize
Afar as an important part of the African linguistic and cultural heritage.
Typology: SVO. Roman Catholic, Donatist, Manichaean, Orthodox, Monophysite,
Arian, Anglican, Muslim, and followers of traditional beliefs.  Bible
Portions 1858-1861. Survey needed.

OLD AFER (LIMBA AFAR BETUS) [OAF] Decreasing use in Roman Catholic liturgy.
There is an effort to revive it.  National language; strongly associated
with Roman Catholic element in society. Typology: SOV.  Bible 1385-1906. NT
1516-1943. Bible portions 1457-1945. Extinct.

NUMIDIAN (MIDDLE ATLAS BERBER) [NMD] 3,000,000 in all countries. Western
Numidian mountain area of Atlas and adjacent valleys to south near the
Mauritanian border. Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Northern, Atlas. One of the most
important Berber languages. 'Numidian' is the name of the language, 'Berber'
of the people. Typology: VSO. Traditional beliefs. Bible portions 1919-1981.
Survey needed.

PUNIC (CHANANI) [PUN] 20,000 in Tripolitania, 5,000 in Numidia, 30,000 in
all countries.  Most speakers of Punic are bilingual in Afar or Numidian.
Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Northwest, Canaanite. Traditional beliefs.
Bible portions 1919-1981.  Typology: SVO. Survey needed.

LINGUA FRANCA (SABIR) [LFA] Pidgin, Romance based.  No native speakers.   No
native literature.  Survey needed.

     The numbers are (of course) somewhat inexact and will undoubtedly be
revised in the 14th edition of Ethnologue.  The picture that I am trying to
paint, of course, is that of a diglossic society, one which uses an archaic
form of the language in addition to a number of vernaculars, which are
written as if they were they were Old Afer but with some diacritics to
highlight the phonological changes that have occured in the language.  Old
Afer is used across the Western Republic (the Provinces of Mauritania,
Numidia, Africa, and Tripolitania), whereas the vernaculars are limited to
local use.  The Numidians speak their own language which is not related to
the Afer languages, and Punic is still spoken in Tripolitania, albeit not by

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