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It may be reasonably expected, in fact, that a traveller, tolerably conversant with the language and customs of the Kafirs, would be ab^e to throw a considerable degree of light upon their origin and migratory movements, by a journey through the nume- rous tribes which lie between the Nile and the Red sea, and skirt the southern parts of Abyssinia. Natives conveyed from the interior to Mozambique, and from thence taken to the Bechuana country, have found no difficulty in making themselves understood ; sufficient proof this of a radical identity of language." The following examples will corroborate this testimony. The following remarks on these people, are extracted from a communication which Mr. " The Mazenas are distinguished by a scar lengthways down the nose, which occurs pretty often along the river Maputa : for this reason the Dutch emigrants called the inhabitants, on seeing them first, knopnose. A particular set of letters, which are termed, for the sake of distinction, Eu- phonic letters, are thus employed ; the same letter or letters belonging to the same set of corresponding prefixes, and in fact running through them. On many accounts, there are good grounds for supposing that they are of Ishmaelitish descent, and consequently, that they are of the same origin as many of the tribes of Arabia. The Koniunkues also have this scar along the nose, and extending a little higher up the forehead, but it is crossed besides, evidently a Portuguese idea. By this means, a uniform sys- tem of alliteration is sustained throughout the grammatical formations of the language, rendering it one of the most curious and ingenious ever known. In the orthographical construction of Kafir words, formation is a distinguishing feature. Though they are spoken by tribes confessedly illiterate and uncivilized, yet they are neither irregular in their formation, nor barbarous in their construction. In the writer's opinion, these are entitled to a more minute and extended consideration, than they appear to have hitherto received from the phil- ological world. In the case of Missionaries, it will be universally allowed that a knowledge of the native languages is highly necessary, in order to a successful and satisfactory prosecution of the important work in which they are engaged. They are long m all accented syllables, and short in unaccented syllables. At the commencement of their career, interpreters may perhaps be employed with some advantage ; but as such a mode of assis- tance is necessarily circuitous and imperfect, the sooner it can be dispensed with the better. vii tical acquaintance, therefore, with the language of the people among whom they dwell and labour, should be considered by all Missionaries, whether clerical or laical, not only as a desirable attainment, but as an indispensable one. But the con- sonants m and n, often have the tendency of shortening the sound of a preceding vowel, even in accented syllables. The vowels e and i, when final, are sometimes mute in the colloquial style, as in the words ihashe, inkosi, fyc, which are pronounced as though the final vowels were elided. Whether the parent dialect is to be found amongst the tribes who have reached the South, or whether it is to be found amongst tribes who may still remain in the North, can only- form a subject of conjecture. He has also compiled a Dictionary, containing above ten thousand words, of the Sooahelee, Wonica, and Wakamba languages ; and has prepared a Grammar of the same languages for the use of future Missionaries. Krapf has laid the foundation of a critical acquaintance with a language, or rather a family of languages, which has filled him, he says, with the highest admiration ; its internal construction and peculiarities being such as no other language, so far as he is aware, can boast. Boyce) some spe- cimens of the languages spoken among the tribes through THE ALL1TERAL CLASS. nama Kafir imbabala Makoa mama Sechuana pala Monjou niyama Monjou jepala English pig English bird Kafir ingulubi Sechuana nunyane Sechuana knlubi Delagoa yonyano Delagoa golua Makoa mini Makoa holua Monjou nuni Monjou leguluvi English eyes English thine Sechuana math Kafir ako Quilimane meto Makoa ahwau Makoa meto English water Monjou mezo Kafir amanzi English flesh Makoa mazi Kafir innyama Monjou mizi Some of the more interior tribes living opposite the Mozambique coast, have lately been brought to light through a visit of the Rev. Arbousset, one of the Missionaries of the Paris society, to a number of captured negroes, at Cape Tow T n. what determined the designation of the principle by which it is regulated. If, however, there be a parent still in existence, it might probably be found amongst the tribes which occupy the interior regions to the south or south- west of Abyssinia, where, it is not impossible to conceive, some of the early progenitors of the Kafir, and other South African tribes, remained behind, whilst the general emigration proceeded in its downward course. I ndi changes into ki45 si changes into re II u (no change) u ni . lo III 1 u changes into o ba (no change) ba 2 li .. " 4S The following list, though it contains only a few words belonging to any of the above mentioned dialects, affords nevertheless some proof of their verbal affinity with the Kafir and other languages of the same class. 61 which he had passed, in which Kafir and Sechuana words were easily recognized. He found that the majority of them belonged to the Makoas, and two other tribes, whom he terms Ma- zenas, and Koniunkues. This euphony is consequent upon the repe- tition of the same letter or letters, in the beginning of two or more words in the same sentence.

The Kafir language must be allowed to stand upon its own merits, and be studied according to its own analogy. Many other lan- guages are found with prefixes, more or less in use; and one — the Wo- loff — is said to have an "Al Hterati- onal Concord;" but before a family identity can be established between any of these and the Kafir, it must be shown that their prefixes have a correspondency of form and use, and that the alliteration which they gram- matically evolve is necessary, not arbitrary. 7 family affinity with all, or with any of them, cannot be established. From Mozam- bique to as far as Mombasa and Melinda, lie the Sowauli, or, as they are termed by Dr. A few of these people are also found in the island of Zanzibar, where they are called Mookhaden. Krapf in the " Missionary Register," it would appear that the Sooahelee language is spoken even beyond Melinda. flesh Kafir innyama Delagoa inyamo Sooahelee yamo 47 Dr. Those which are spoken between Damara land and the country lying at the back of Sofala, are supposed to belong to the Sechuana family. " As far, " he says, "as we can ascertain from incidental information, obtained now and then from the north north-east, the regions are densely inhabited with people, all speaking the Sechuana language, or some dialect of it, and living in a far more compact and congregated state than those tribes inhabiting the southern regions. The mere circumstance that some sort of affinity exists between three or four of their numerals, and the corresponding ones of the Kafir and similar lan- guages, is by no means a sufficient reason for at once including them under the Alliteral class. From the very commencement of Missionary operations amongst the Kafir tribes, it was observed that their lan- guage possessed some great peculiarity in the mode of its etymological structure. But thouofh this opinion should be proved tenable, the Kafir and similar languages have still to be dealt with, according to their present constitution; and from what has already been said, their position must be regarded as unique, their several dialects standing isolated from all others, so far as their peculiar characteristic is concerned. — I learn also from the German Missionaries, and those of your Society, that the same tongue is spoken by the Damaras. Their dialects appear to be members of what might be called, the Sooahelee family, and are probably very similar to each other, as " those Wakambas who have much intercourse with the Wonicas understand and speak the Wonica language perfectly well. Sechuana Quilimane Sooahelee eyes amehlo matlo meto matslio English Europeans Kafir abelungu Sooahelee wasungo English . Boyce observes in the " Introduction" before quoted, that they all " speak languages only slightly differing from the Sechuana spoken near the Cape colony. The various changes of which Kafir words are susceptible, according to their relative position with others in the same proposition, are usually accomplished by means of prefixes, all of which have a correspondency of form and use. The particular origin, accordingly, of these languages, has yet to be discovered. • — The other language to which I have alluded, appeared THE ALLITERAL CLASS. "47 Some- thing has been done, also, in these languages, towards form- ing a literature. Krapf has translated the Book of Gen- esis, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, the General Epistles of St. John, into the Sooahelee language ; and the Gospels of St. John, into both the Sooahelee and the Wonica lan- guages. An Arab," he adds, "who had travelled for commercial purposes from Mombasa to Mozambique, at some distance from the sea coast, gave the writer (Mr. The euphony which is promoted in the speaking of the language by this method of government, was 66 EUPHONIC CONCORD. It may be fairly presumed, moreover, that some assistance vi PREFACE.

might tlius be obtained, towards tracing the origin and subsequent distributions of tlie people them- selves.

The following work was undertaken, partly to afford assistance in the acquisition of the Kafir lan- guage, and partly to encourage and stimulate inquiry in reference to South African dialects in general.

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  • Full text of "The Kafir language comprising a sketch of its history;" profil de paulette60


    Their present separate condition is of comparatively modern date, having arisen from the operation of the law which determines succession to the chieftanship, and. The Amabaca are a small tribe now living on the western frontier of the Natal colony, which survived the general ruin consequent upon the interior wars of.…