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Carl Meinhof

From Academic Kids

Carl Friedrich Michael Meinhof (July 23,1857-February 11,1944) was a German linguist known as one of the first linguists to study African languages. In 1905 he became professor at the School of Oriental Studies in Berlin.

He was most notable for the work that he did developing comparative grammar studies of the Bantu languages. He followed from the pioneering work of Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek on Bantu grammar. In his work, Meinhof looked at the common Bantu languages such as Swahili and Zulu to determine similarities and differences.

In his work, Meinhof looked at noun classes with all Bantu languages having at least 10 classes and with 22 classes of nouns existing throughout the Bantu languages. While no language has all 22, Sesotho has 18. Several Bantu languages have a noun class specifically for humans and the Fula language having one reserved for liquids.

Meinhof also looked at other African languages including the Kordofanian languages, Bushman, Khoikhoi and Hamitic languages. During his career, Meinhof published several books on African languages and made recordings of East African music in 1902 which was one of the first recordings made of traditional African music.

References

  • Meinhof, C 1948 (1st edn 1906) GrundzŁge einer vergleichenden Grammatik der Bantusprachen. Reimer, Berlin


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