SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Marten, Lutz (2020) 'Bantu and Bantoid.' In: Vossen, Rainer and Dimmendaal, Gerrit J., (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of African Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 205-219.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (464kB) | Preview


The Bantu family is the largest African language family in terms of geographic and demographic spread: the 450–500 Bantu languages are spoken in 27 countries, by about 240 million speakers. The close linguistic relation between Bantu languages has been recognized since the nineteenth century and was the focus of the earliest comparative linguistic studies in Africa, leading to the establishment of a reconstructed proto-language. Following the work of Bleek, Meinhof, and Guthrie, contemporary work on the internal classification of Bantu languages employs computational and phylogenetic methods, insights from comparative work on smaller subgroups, as well as models of language contact. A particular concern of comparative Bantu has for a long time been the relation between classification and social history, and hypotheses about the spread of Bantu languages across central, eastern, and southern Africa have had considerable influence on models of African history.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Bantu, classification, language contact, social history, linguistic relation
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9780199609895
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2023 12:25

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item