The Assimilation of Loan Words in Masalit

John Tees Edgar
"The assimilation of loan words in Masalit" This is a study of the assimilation patterns and processes of Arabic words adopted into the Masalit language. The Masalit, a settled people numbering between one and two hundred thousand, live in Dar Masalit, the western district of Dar Fur, Sudan and in eastern Wadai, Chad. Most are peasant farmers, growing millet as their staple food and keeping goats, sheep and occasionally cows. Their language belongs to the Maba group (belonging to Greenberg's
more » ... tulated Nilo-Saharan phylum. Many Masalit are bilingual in Masalit and Colloquial Arabic, some do not speak Masalit at all. There is a growing monolingual arabophone population in the region. All of the peoples of Dar Masalit are at least nominally Muslim. Chapter 1: The history of the land of the Masalit is surveyed briefly insofar as it is relevant to the influence of Arabic on Masalit. Chapters 2 and 3: The state of the Arabic language in the land of the Masalit is discussed, the phonologies of classical and colloquial Arabic and Masalit are laid out and Masalit morphology relevant to the processes of loan-word assimilation is described, followed by a description of the methodology involved. Chapter 4: Arabic-Masalit phonetic changes are noted as are additions of Masalit suffixes;adoptives into the verbal system are fewer and are treated separately. Very much fewer of the putative loans are in the 'indirect' category; putative loans via Fur, Fulfulde, Kanuri, Hausa and Maba (a cognate language of Masalit) are suggested and examined. Problematic items and lexemes which have wide spreads of reflexes and 'look-alikes' in the region are also examined, followed by some putative morphological adoptions. The semantic maintenance and change of loan words is catalogued and analyzed.
doi:10.25501/soas.00033579 fatcat:row3zyewinfpjcutqposn2rthe