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    Somali Documentary Qabribayah : Dagaalka Xaabada

    African Religions: Fred Welbourn's

    Ancestors index pages or Nurelweb

    Copyright F.B. Welbourn 1968
    The natural and the supernatural

    Few Britons have seen bacteria. We rarely think about them unless they cause
    disease. And even today many people are ignorant that bacteria are essential to
    healthy organic life. If we have to deal with them, whether to kill the malign
    bacteria which cause dysentery or to increase their benign activity in a compost
    heap, we consult a specialist. Normally, if we think about them at all, we
    simply take them on trust. But most of us, if challenged, would say that they
    are a natural and inescapable part of our environment.

    No traditional Baganda have seen a ghost (Baganda ghosts are not expected to be
    seen. They work in other ways). Although custom directed that shrines to the
    dead should be tended regularly, they usually were neglected unless the ghost of
    the deceased caused trouble. The benign activity of ghosts was so much taken for
    granted as to be hardly mentioned except on very special occasions. If, however,
    a ghost caused trouble a specialist was consulted. But, if challenged,
    traditional Baganda would say that ghosts were a natural and inescapable part of
    their environment. There was nothing "supernatural" about them. Indeed, the
    contrast between "natural" and "supernatural" cannot be expressed in the Luganda

    The idea that religion has to do with the supernatural, that is with miracles
    and the breaking of "natural law", is deeply ingrained in Western thinking. We
    think of the "natural" and "supernatural" as two entirely different realms to
    such an extent that some of us find it extremely difficult to believe that a
    supernatural world exists at all.

    Contrast our way of thinking with two folk-tales which show how differently the
    Baganda thought about what we would call "the supernatural":

    When Kintu, first king of the Baganda, came to the country, he was alone except
    for his cow. He ate its dung and drank its urine and enjoyed its company. One
    day, sliding down the rainbow from the sky, which was ruled by a king called
    Ggulu, came Ggulu's sons and daughters to have a look at the earth. One
    daughter, Nnambi, fell in love with Kintu and determined to marry him. Her
    brothers told their father, who advised them to steal Kintu's cow so that he
    would die. But Nnambi saw what happened and took Kintu to the sky to recover it.

    Ggulu set Kintu impossible tasks: to eat 10,000 helpings of food and beer; to
    use a copper axe to cut a rock into firewood; to collect a pot of drinking water
    from the dew; and finally to find his own cow among 40,000 others. All these
    Kintu accomplished and drew wondering praise from Ggulu. He married Nnambi; and
    they went back to earth to breed the Baganda.

    Whatever the moral of this story, it is clear that the wonder-worker was Kintu
    the man, not Ggulu the "ruler of the sky" whom we would call a god. Kintu and
    Ggulu dealt with each other as any Baganda suitor would deal his potential
    father-in-law. Earth and sky, man and heavenly being, do not represent
    different, incomparable, levels of existence in this story but are part of a
    single, intercommunicating, whole.

    Nnambi's brothers, Walumbe, followed the happy pair to earth and, out of
    jealousy, became the spirit of disease and death. He was eventually chased away
    and lived in a hole in the earth. But he was finally responsible for all death;
    and all ghosts had to visit him before returning to their clan graveyards. On
    one occasion a hunter, called Mpobe, followed his dog, which was chasing an
    edible rat; and the rat ran down Walumbe's hole. At the bottom was a village and
    many people and, a little further on, an old man who was Walumbe. Mpobe was, not
    unnaturally, afraid; and he knelt down, as any Muganda would kneel to a chief.
    He explained how he had come and was allowed to go home on condition that he
    told nobody where he had been. Else, Walumbe would kill him. In the end, of
    course, he blabbed to his mother and Walumbe came to claim him. Mpobe asked if
    he might first sell his things, buy a cow and eat it. Permission was given; and
    Mpobe made the deal last over several years before he finally had to pay his

    There is no suggestion here that death not something to be avoided. But Death
    does not appear as a terrible figure but as a patient creditor-having certainly
    the last word but, dealing with man on almost equal terms.

    The recent experience of a Marakwet woman in Kenya, interviewed in the 1960's,
    tells the same story. In a dream she was visited by the ghost of her dead son,
    who asked her to get him his favourite fruit. This she did, leaving it at the
    spot he indicated. The next night he again asked for fruit. She replied, 'If you
    can't come home without making a nuisance of yourself, why don't you stay where
    you are?' So the third night he just came for a chat.

    ‘There is nothing more natural than the supernatural;’ and any attempt to
    understand the religious experience of traditional Africans must begin from a
    reversal of our normal secular Western, but not particularly Christian, idea
    that the "natural" and "supernatural" are different. Certainly, there is a
    recognition, in many African societies, of a hierarchy of power. The Creator
    God, if there is a belief in him or it, is the source of this power, as he or it
    is the source of all things. But power is found, in descending order, in lesser
    spirits, in ancestral ghosts, in chiefs, who are often the focus of
    communication with the spirits, in witches and sorcerers. Finally in ordinary
    men and women, animals, plants and inanimate things.

    Sometimes this power is personalised. The Baganda, for instance, have many
    stories of pregnant girls, deserted by their lovers, who gave birth to water
    instead of a child. The water became a river; and the girl's spirit might catch
    unwary travelers and drown them. Near one village in Uganda there lived a
    leopard which kept the people in its care and warned them if other leopards were
    coming to steal their stock. An animal's horn, which had been filled with
    suitable ingredients and empowered by a spirit, could be used by its owner to do
    jobs for him at a distance and could speak to him.

    Sometimes the power has to be put into things, as into the horn and articles of
    sorcery which will be discussed later. But sometimes it is inherent. A Buganda
    man who killed the animal after which his clan is named was believed to have
    killed his clan totem and automatically died. If a pregnant woman laughed at a
    lame person, her child would be born lame. If a sheep, a goat or a dog got onto
    the roof of a house, the inhabitants would leave it at once, saying it was
    unlucky to live there. All these things were 'taboo.'

    When this power was first described by Europeans, it was called by the
    Melanesian word mana. The Melanesians used mana to explain any exceptional
    excellence or skill in men - the power of a chief, the success of a warrior,
    skill in rearing pigs or raising large crops of food. The attempt to obtain mana
    was thought to be the basis of Melanesian religion. A similar idea was later
    found in Polynesia, where mana was described as an all-pervasive psychic force
    behaving very much like electricity. People and things which were positively
    'charged' could pass it by contact to one that was 'negative'. Unless this
    process was properly controlled, damage might result. A positively charged
    chief, for instance, might come into contact with a commoner. The chief would
    lose some of his power; and the commoner might be injured. An example of this
    type of reaction in 2 Samuel 6.6f. Therefore 'taboos' were imposed to prevent
    the fatal contact.

    But the electrical metaphor, which was so effectively used to describe the
    action of mana, can be used to illuminate the relation between 'natural' and
    'supernatural'. Sir Arthur Eddington once pointed out that a physicist's
    description of matter in terms of electrons and protons might easily give the
    impression that a chair consists largely of wide-open space - hardly a suitable
    support for sitting. The common-sense account is entirely different. Common
    sense can normally disregard the electrical basis of matter. Electrical forces
    become of concern to common sense when they are not properly controlled - when
    lightning strikes, for instance - or when they are harnessed to human welfare to
    produce effects which are impossible without them. To harness them requires
    specialist skill; lightning may be extremely frightening. But we do not
    therefore regard electricity as supernatural. It is an inescapable part of our
    natural environment with special powers for good or ill. It is very much in this
    way that traditional peoples understand the power which operates in taboos and
    magic, through the ghosts and the spirits. It underlies all life; but 'common
    sense' can normally disregard it. When out-of-the-way things happen, or when a
    man needs special power for a particular purpose - to deal with misfortune or to
    seek unusual success - he becomes aware, as we become aware of electricity, of
    something which he believes to be around him and available all the time.
    But a word of warning is necessary. Electricity can be dangerous as well as
    useful. The Doctor Who stories suggest how the popular imagination fears
    electricity when it gets into the hands of men who use it for their own evil
    ends. An electric iron may give a fatal shock. So a man who can control mana may
    be feared as well as admired. If he can use it to improve his own crops, he can
    equally well use it to do harm to others. Among the Lugbara of Uganda, a man who
    consistently has better crops than his neighbours is liable to be accused of
    witchcraft and punished.

    There are three ways in which men have looked at the universe (other ways may be
    possible). One is that of materialism, which sees all phenomena as matter
    organised in less or more complicated forms but, because it is matter,
    ultimately subject to control by man. The second, which has been described in
    this chapter, sees all phenomena as the expression of a mysterious force, which
    may or may not be personalised, which men may try to control for their own
    advantage but to which they are ultimately subject. The third divides phenomena
    into ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’, the one subject to man's control the other
    wholly mysterious. In order to understand the ‘religions’ described in this
    book, it is necessary to try to suspend judgement as to which of theses views of
    the universe is true and to enter as fully as possible into the point of view of
    the second.

    Return to:Atoms and Ancestors index pages, the Africa pages, or to Nurelweb

    Cushitic pastoralists Explorations in the Prehistory Roger Blench

    Cushitic pastoralists


    The origin and homeland of the major linguistic groupings in Africa,
    has been a subject of controversy since the first tentative attempts to
    classify the more than 2000 languages of the continent. Although
    most scholars are now agreed on the assignment of most languages
    to one or other of the phyla present in Africa, the intemal arrangement
    of the subgroups within each phylum is very much open to discussion.
    Models of interna1 structure influence the historical interpretation of
    ethnolinguistic diffusion; if one branch of a phylum is considered
    especially close to another then historical models must account for
    its speakers' contiguity at some time in pi-ehistory.

    Of particular interest in this respect is the Afroasiatic phylum, both
    because it is so widespread in Africa and the Near East and because
    its intemal structure is as yet very unclear. Afroasiatic has a somewhat
    ambiguous status among the major language phyla of the world. As
    the grouping that includes not only several languages sanctified by
    major world religions, but also the earliest written language, it has
    benefited from a massive research and publication effort in certain
    rather specific areas. It also has old-established traditions of scholarship
    that have not always had a positive effect on innovative research.

    40 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad

    One branch of Afroasiatic that presents a specific problem is Chadic,
    the family of 150 + languages centred on Lake Chad but spreading
    from the borders of Sudan to northwestein Nigeria. Chadic is clearly
    the most intemally diversified subgroup of Afroasiatic and perhaps
    for that reason might be considered as the most ancient branching.

    However. linguistic geography suggests rather strongly that it is indeed
    an intrusive group reaching the region after the establishment of the
    Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo phyla (see maps in Perrot 1988;
    Crozier & Blench 1992; Blench 1993a, 1997a). Since its nearest
    relatives are geographically remote (Berber or Cushitic) it has often
    been suggested that speakers of the Proto-Chadic were mobile
    pastoralists of some type. This has never been substantiated either
    linguistically or archaeologically and no date has been proposed for
    such a movement.

    The purpose of this paperl is to put forward a mode1 to account for
    the position of Chadic within Afroasiatic and to suggest a time and
    a route whereby Chadic pastoralists could have ai-rived at the Lake
    Chad area. Linguistic support foi- this hypothesis is presently limited
    to livestock tei-minology; full confirmation of this idea could only
    come from much more detailed comparative work within Afroasiatic.
    The paper explores the history of ideas concerning the interna1
    classification and membership of Afroasiatic and to a lesser extent of
    Nilo-Saharan, since the two phyla intei-penetrate in the crucial region
    of Central Africa. It then considers the domestic stock in this region
    of Central Africa and sets out the linguistic evidence for connections
    between Afroasiatic subgroups. Finally, archaeological evidence that
    can be linked to the pioposed migrations is reviewed.

    1 I would like to thank the organisers of Méga-Tchad for allowing me to
    present this long and somewhat complex paper, a preliminary version of
    which was given at SOAS in 1995.1 would like to thank David Appleyard,
    Jean-Charles Clanet, Richard Hayward, Hermann Jungraithmayr and Kay
    Williamson who have commented on various versions of it. Lionel Bender
    has been the source of stimulating debates on the subject of the classifi-
    cation of Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic, while not commenting directly on
    the text of the paper.

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderinqs of Cushitic pastoralists 41 V
    Afroasiatic and Nilo-Saharan


    Historical Views of Afroasia tic

    Ruhlen (1 987: 87 ff.) gives a useful concise history of the classification
    of the languages that constitute the phylum. The kinship of Hebr-ew,
    Arabic and Aramaic was recognised as early as the 1530s, and Ludolf
    pointed out the affinity of Ethiosemitic with the near Eastern languages
    in 1702. The name "Semitic" was proposed in 178 1 by von Schlozer.
    Berber and some of the Chadic languages, notably Hausa were added
    during the course of the nineteenth century. The earliest version of
    Afroasiatic as presently understood probably appears in Müller (1 876-
    87) who linked Egyptian, Semitic, Berber, Cushitic and Hausa, the
    only known Chadic language at the period.

    A phylum under the name Afroasiatic goes back to Joseph Greenberg
    (1963). Previously, the preferred name was "Hamito-Semitic", an
    unfortunate conjunction both clumsy and redolent of suspect racial
    theories. Hamito-Semitic is by no means expunged from the lexicon:
    hence the confus in^ titles of various collections of conference
    proceedings (cf. Bynon 1984). Even disregarding the "Hamitic
    hypothesis" Hamito-Semitic gives a primacy to Semitic that is entirely
    without linguistic justificationz. Other proposed names include
    Afrasian, Lisramic (Hodge 1976) and more strangely, Lislakh. These
    have not been widely adopted and Afroasiatic will be used here.

    Afroasiatic has been the subject of a number of overviews, beginning
    with Müller (op. cit.). Historically, the most important of these have
    been Cohen (1947) and Diakonoff (1988). Hodge (1 971, 1976)
    represents a summary of the situation in the early 1970s. In 1995,
    two very different perspectives on Afroasiatic were published, both
    accompanied by substantial data tables (Ehret 1995: Orel & Stolbova
    2 Much the same has been the case with Sino-Tibetan, where the written
    record of Chinese came to be regarded as evidence for its primary split
    with the largely unwritten Tibeto-Burrnan languages. As Van Driern (1995)
    has recently shown, this is not supported by the linguistic evidence, which
    suggests that Chinese should be classified with Bodic.

    42 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    1995). The implications of these works have yet to be fully absorbed,
    but the contrast between them is that Ehret is concerned to justify a
    particular view of Afroasiatic phylogeny (Fig. 2, p. 43), while Orel
    and Stolbova are oriented towards etymologies. Ehret argues for a
    particular version of Afroasiatic phonology while Orel and Stolbova
    take for granted that proposed by Diakonoff.

    An aspect of Afroasiatic that is worth noting is the important role
    played by scholars whose focus has been text. Inteipretations have
    been, even more than usual, a miiror to the intellectual preoccupations
    of each scholarly generation. Ancient Egyptian has always been
    inteipreted by Mediterraneanist scholars and this is reflected in the
    interpretations of the sound-system. The undoubted African
    contribution has been largely ignored or implicitly denied.

    Despite this, it is fair to Say that there has been a revolution in the
    treatment of Afroasiatic largely brought about by the massive growth
    in studies of African languages. Greenberg (1 963) was responsible
    for the establishment of this phylum in its pi-esent foi-m. His particular
    contribution was the dethronement of Semitic fi-om its foimerly central
    position. and the emphasis he placed on its i-elations with the languages
    of Africa.

    The Interna1 Phylogeny of Afroasiatic

    Gi-eenberg's hypotheses marked an important development, but in
    one way they remained resolutely old-fashioned; they left the inteinal
    stiucture of Afroasiatic unexplored. Greenberg's classification allowed
    five CO-ordinate branches, with Cushitic subdivided into five further
    CO-ordinate branches. This is represented in Figure 1.

    I I I I l
    Semitic Berber Ancient Egyptian Cushitic Chadic
    l I l I I
    Northern Central Eastern Western Southern
    1 Figure 1
    The principal subdivisions of Afroasiatic in Greenberg (1963).

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralisls 43 V
    This scheme broadly follows Cohen (1 947) although Cohen included
    only Hausa as an example of a Chadic language and offered no specific
    hypothesis about Cushitic. Greenberg was undoubtedly the first
    researcher to outline Chadic as a distinct language family, eliminating
    the typological elements that had confused Lukas' classification.
    The most significant development since this period has been the
    recognition that Greenberg's "Western Cushitic" is quite distinct from
    other branches of Afro-Asiatic. To mark this, it has been renamed
    Omotic (Bender 1975, 1988). Most scholars have accepted the
    coherence of Omotic as a group and agree on its assignment to
    Afroasiatic. Some researchers would prefer to retain Omotic within
    Cushitic, but these are now in a minority. In the case of the other
    branches of Cushitic, there has also been considerable discussion
    about whether it really constitutes a family and Beja, Ethiopian
    Cushitic and Southein Cushitic are often treated as distinct branches.
    Ehret (1987) has proposed a "proto-Cushitic" making explicit the
    hypothesis that these branches form a unity. New data on Dahalo have
    made its usual classification with South Cushitic less evident and
    some writers now wish to make it an independent branch of Cushitic
    (Tosco 1991 ).
    Despite a wealth of documentation, attempts to put a structure to the
    groupings within Afro-Asiatic have been relatively few. Within Chadic,
    the interna1 classification of the most ramified of the subgroups of
    Afroasiatic has proved particularly complex. Greenberg (1963) left
    Chadic with nine rather ill-defined subgroups, but Newman and Ma
    (1966) made a major breakthrough in proposing three divisions.
    Newman (1977) later expanded this to four with the separation of the
    Masa group, although Tourneux (1 990) has argued that Masa should
    be re-incorporated in Central Chadic. Barreteau and Jungraithmayr
    (1993) in a study combining lexicostatistics with proposed lexical
    innovations, have split West Chadic into two CO-ordinate groups,
    opposing Hausa and the Plateau Chadic languages, such as Ron, with
    the Miya-Warji and other northeastern languages such as Ngizim.
    It is interesting to note from the point of view of intellectual history
    that the first proposa1 to specifically link Cushitic and Chadic seems
    to have been made in 1909 by Leo Reinisch, the great Austiian scholar
    of the languages of the Hom of Africa. Reinisch noted that these
    languages were linked with Semitic and Egyptian and concluded on

    44 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin (lu lac Tchad
    ground of linguistic geography that Afroasiatic ("Chamitische" in his
    terminology) must have originated in Africa. Reinisch's conclusions
    are rarely cited and were probably far more unwelcome in 1909 than
    Greenberg in the 1950s and even Greenberg had to face considerable
    opposition. Arelated and challenging view of the Afroasiatic homeland
    was put fonvard by Behrens (1985) who used linguistic evidence,
    especially livestock terminology, to suggest that the homeland of
    Berber was far from its present centre of gravity. Behrens argued for
    a region of Western Sudan with subsequent diffusion both West and
    north some 6000 years BC.
    Most recently, there have been a number of developments that have
    yet to be fully evaluated. The most important of these are:
    a) The proposal that Ongota, a moribund language 3 of southwestem
    Ethiopia constitutes a valid seventh branch of Afroasiatic (Fleming
    et al. 1992).
    b) Blaiek (in press) has proposed that Elamite. an extinct language
    of the Ancient Near East, either constitutes a seventh branch of
    Afroasiatic or is CO-ordinate with it. Elamite is usually classified
    with Dravidian, spoken in South India, but does show clear
    resemblances with Afroasiatic. Blaiek proposes a structure where
    Afi-oasiatic is related to Dravidian at a higher level and Elamite
    foims a bridge between the two. Whether the links between Elamite
    and Afroasiatic reflect a genetic relationship or are simply a case
    of extensive loanwords, remains to be explored.
    Ehret's (1995) schema of the intemal structure for Afroasiatic is fairly
    similar to the models proposed formally or informally by other
    researchers and 1have adapted sonle of his proposed names for the
    nodes (e.g. North Afroasiatic and Erythraic). Figure 2 shows a
    composite view of Afroasiatic incorporating my own views and some
    of the recent proposals made conceining Elamitic, On, Dota etc.
    Bender (1 997) has also proposed a radically new structure for
    Afroasiatic ("upside-down Afi-asian" in his teiminology). His revised
    tree is as follows (Figure 3).
    3 Ongota has only 6 speakers as of 1997, down from the 15 reported in

    R. BLENCH-The weslward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 45 V

    ~esl-1 East Beja Aga* E. Cushitic S. Cushitic erter Egyptian Semitic OmoÉ Ongola?
    1 Figure 2
    Proposed Revised Afroasiatic Classification
    Chadic Egyptian-Coptic Berber Sernitic Cushitic Ornotic
    1 Figure 3
    The lnternal Structure of Afroasiatic according to Bender (1997)

    46 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    Bender proposes a homeland for Afroasiatic (the region where Chad,
    Sudan and Libya meet today) and a date (10,000 BP). Perhaps even
    more startlingly, he canvases the possibility that Indo-European is
    somehow an offshoot of his "Macro-Cushitic". Whether these
    suggestions will be taken on board by the scholarly commiinity will
    depend on the presentation of fuller evidence than is given in his short
    The Nilo-Saharan language phylum remains the least-known and most
    controversial of African language groupings. Since its initial delineation
    by Greenberg (1963) there have been a series of studies, piincipally
    by Bender (1991 b, 1996a, b) and Blench (1995a). An unpublished
    classification by Ehret is reviewed in Bender (1 996a). Figure 4 shows
    one mode1 of the relationship between the various branches of Nilo-
    Saharan; quite different structures are given in some of the literature
    cited. This is a much more controversial topic: but for the present
    argument, this is marginally relevant: al1 that needs to be taken on
    trust is that there are large numbers of fragmented Ni1o.-Saharan
    languages presently in the region between Chadic and Cushitic.
    Berta Kunarna Kornuz
    Fur Maba
    Saharan Songhay 1
    (= Kadugli-Krongo)
    Central Sudanic East Sudanic
    1 Figure 4
    Interna1 Phylogeny of Nilo-Saharan: Minimal Hypothesis.

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 47 V
    Trees, Peoples and Origins
    This paper treats non-phylogenetic views with limited sympathy.
    Languages are spoken by people and communities split and diversify
    in real historical time for a multiplicity of reasons. Although the
    interplay of factors that underlie these processes remains only partly
    understood, it is only by seeking to apply sociological models of
    known processes that we can hope to mode1 the past. Historically
    speaking, divisions in communities are a common process. Apastoral
    society divides as one group goes to seek pasture and water elsewhere.
    An agricultural community divides as one body of villagers go to
    seek new agricultural land.
    Languages usually spread by two complementary processes, language-
    shifting and physical expansion. The Hausa and Fulfulde languages
    of West Africa are good examples of these processes at work. Hausa
    has largely spread in historical time through the Hausaization of
    agricultural populations, a process still at work today. Fulfulde,
    however, has spread across West-Central Africa through the physical
    movement of pastoralists with their herds. There is no reason to suppose
    these processes were not as common in the past as they are today.
    The Inter-Saharan Hypothesis
    Much of the conventional literature on the diffusion and spread of
    Afroasiatic assumes, implicitly or explicitly, a trans-Saharan route
    for the development of Chadic. Links with Berber and Egyptian
    abound in the literature and the analogy with the medieval Islamic
    trade-routes is extended into an unknown past. This paper argues,
    that while trans-Saharan routes were of importance. the present-day
    distribution of Chadic languages and their immediate affinities in
    Afroasiatic can best be understood by assuming that speakers of the
    proto-language migrated from east to West. from the Nile to the Niger.
    to exaggerate slightly. To distinguish this from the conventional view
    1 propose to cal1 this the "inter-Saharan" coi-ridor.
    If Chadic and Cushitic languages do have a privileged relationship.
    then this is best explained by the assumption that Chadic speakers

    48 V L'homme et i'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    broke away from a branch of Cushitic and moved westwards. In view
    of the intemal diversification of Chadic this must have been several
    thousand years ago. Given the long distances involved, it seems likely
    that this migration took place in the context of a pastoral subsistence
    system. In other words, a group of Cushitic speakers, herding cattle,
    sheep and goats, began to drift westward (Blench 1995b).
    The inter-Saharan coi-ridor is today largely in the Republics of Sudan
    and Chad. Today and presumably in the past it was inhabited by Nilo-
    Saharan speakers. If such a migration took place, then one
    confirmatory piece of evidence should be the scattered presence of
    livestock terms in Nilo-Saharan languages al1 the way between the
    Nile and Lake Chad. The data tables given below provide some
    evidence that this is indeed the case.
    Leo Reinisch pointed out in the early part of the century that there
    are striking lexical correspondences between Nile Nubian and
    Cushitic. Work on the prehistory of Nubian and the languages of the
    Nile Valley by Bechhaus-Gerst (1 98415, 1989, 1999) has made this
    more historically probable. She shows that when Nobiin speakers
    reached the Nile Valley (by Ca. 1500 BC) they encountered resident
    speakers of Cushitic languages from whom they borrowed a large
    number of words, most strikingly those connected with livestock
    production (goat, sheep, hen, pig, dung, stock enclosure, milk etc.).
    The languages that are apparently the source of these loanwords are
    Highland East Cushitic (Haddiya etc.) rather than Beja or the Agaw
    languages which are today geographically closer.

    P Pastoralism and Domestic Aninials
    Why Domestic Animals?
    One approach to exploring the history of a language phylum is to
    examine in detail a semantic field that illuminates some aspect of the
    subsistence strategies of its assumed speakers. In the case of Khoisan,
    for example, it would be sensible to look in detail at animal names
    and hunting technology. In the case of Afroasiatic, livestock
    terminology provides a useful window, since it has long been obseived

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists
    49 V
    that many lexical items are widely distributed through the phylum.
    Livestock is also useful because:
    it is probably older than cultivation in Africa: cattle, donkeys, cats
    and guinea-fowl are indigenous domesticates:
    it is represented in rock-art and it is bettes attested archaeologically
    than cultivated plants;
    maRy Afroasiatic speakers are still pastoralists.
    Terms for domestic animals occupy a curious halfway house between
    cultural and basic lexicon. Domestic animals are ancient, but their
    exact antiquity is often in question. Therefore their presence at the
    period when a hypothetical proto-language is spoken remains doubtful.
    The Principal Pastoral Species:
    Cattle, Sheep and Goats
    The ancestry of domestic cattle remains one of the most disputed
    topics in the broader debate over domestication. The most
    comprehensive overviews of the origin of the traditional cattle breeds
    of Africa are Epstein (1971) and Epstein and Mason (1984). Wild
    cattle seem to have been present in the Ancient Near East and
    Northeast Afi-ica as late as 5000 B.C. and the earliest African cattle
    presumably derive from these. Muzzolini (1983b) has reviewed the
    evidence for cattle in Ancient Egypt and Gautier (1987) has
    synthesised the archaeological evidence for Northern and Middle
    Africa. Blench (1993b) represents an oveiview of the existing evidence
    from cattle breeds and races. MacDonald and MacDonald (1 999)
    represents a comprehensive recent summary of the archaeozoological
    evidence for West-Central Africa.
    Very early dates, before 9000 BP, are postulated for cattle in the
    Eastern Sahara (Gautier: 198 1: 336, 1984: 69). Wendorf & Schild
    (1984: 420) note comparable domesticated cattle from Syria by the
    tenth millenniurn BP. Breunig et al. (1993) and Breunig and Neumann
    (1996) give dates of > 3000 BP (uncalibrated) for the bones of
    domesticated cattle in Boino.
    Many early representations in rock-art of cattle in the Ancient Middle
    East, Egypt and the Sahara show cattle with some sort of hump.

    50 V L'homme ef l'animal dans le bassin tlu lac Tchad
    Muzzolini (1983a. 1991) concludes that there are sorne apparently
    early images of humped cattle in Saharan rock-art which do not fit
    with the late introduction of zebu and therefore advmces the hypothesis
    of an independent evolution of humpedness in the Sahara. The present-
    day humped breeds of West Africa almost certainly cornbille genetic
    rnaterial from the indigenous breeds and the incorning zebu. Recent
    work on the cattle DNA does appear to suggest a dual domestication
    in the Indian and NE Afi-ical Near Eastern regions (Loftus et al. 1994).
    The goat. Capra I~ircus aegagrus, evolved 7 million yeass ago. but it
    was probably not dornesticated until 10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic
    period of the Ancient Near East (Gautier 198 1 : 336: Mason 1984b).
    Goats were certainly kept in Egypt after 5000 BC and presumably
    spread to sub-Saharan Africa shoi-tly after that. The site at Haua Fteah,
    Cyrenaica in North Afi-ica, has srnall ruminant bones datiny from the
    6800 BP with no associated cattle and Kadero. near Khartum. has
    both cattle and small iurninants at 6000 BP (Gautier 1981 :336).
    As with goats. sheep are descended from an ancestral Near Eastern
    wild sheep and domestic foms xe recorded in Iraq as early as 11,000 BP.
    In Africa, they first occur as domesticates in the eastern Sahara at
    7000 BP and at Haua Fteah in North Africa at 6800 BP (Gautier 198 1:
    336). Muzzolini (1990) has reviewed the evidence for sheep in Sahasan
    rock ait and his revision of the chronology placing the first appearance
    of sheep rather later. at 6000 BP, seems generally accepted.
    Associated Species:
    Donkeys, Dogs and Guinea- fo wl

    The wild ass, Equus asinus africanus, is indigenous to the African
    continent and is usually divided into a chain of races of subspecies
    spi-eading from the Atlas rnountains eastwards to Nubia, down the
    Red Sea and probably as far as the border of present-day Northein
    Kenya (Groves 1966, 1986: Haltenorth & Diller 1980: 109; Kingdon

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 51 V
    1997). Four notional races, atlanticus. africanus, taeniopirs and
    somaliensis are located approximately as shown in earlier studies
    (e.g. Haltenorth & Diller 1980). However, two of these, atlanticus
    and tueniopus have been rejected more recently and indeed the
    proposed arlanticus race tuins out to have been based on misidentified
    zebra bones (Kingdon 1997: 311). The extent to which the wild ass
    penetrated the interior of Africa is controversial, but it is generally
    considered unlikely that it evei- occurred in sub-Saharan regions.
    Groves (1986) argues that the wild ass extended into the Near East
    in ancient times and CO-existed with the onager, Equus hemionus.
    Blench (1999 a) summarises the recent evidence for the history of
    the donkey in Africa.
    The main features differentiating races of wild ass are the amount
    and type of stripes and the shoulder crosses. However, their charac-
    terisation may be somewhat bluired, since populations that survived
    into historical times have almost cei-tainly crossed with feral donkeys,
    leading to a merger of characteiistics. Civil war in both Somalia and
    Eritrea may mean that the fragile populations marked have
    disappeared or are severely threatened. There are two doubtful
    populations of wild ass near Siwa oasis in Egypt and further south
    towards the Sahara proper.
    Records of domestic donkeys begin in Egypt in the fourth millennium
    B.C. with cleai. representations of working donkeys by the middle of
    the next millennium (Epstein 1971: 392). At about the same period
    there are textual records of extremely large herds of donkeys, many
    of which were apparently used for portage. The expeditions to Punt
    (Ethiopia) consisting of large trade caravans usually included
    numerous donkeys (Kitchen 1993). Donkeys from the second
    millennium BC occur at Shaqadud in the Butana grasslands of Sudan
    (Peters 1991). Donkeys were found in the faunal assemblages at
    Carthage in the Roman period (1-4th centuries AD) (Levine 1994).
    The earliest record of a donkey in West Africa is at Siouré in
    Senegambia (MacDonald and MacDonald 1999). The stratigraphy
    of this site appears to be reliable and the donkey bone is dated to
    between 0-250 A.D. After this? the next finds of donkey bones are at
    Akumbu in Mali with a date of 600-100 A.D. However, such finds
    are extremely rare even in sites, such as Tegdaoust, where there have
    been extensive finds of other domestic species.

    52 7 L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    The ancestry of the domestic dog remains uncertain and a number
    of canids may be implicated in present-daytypes (Clutton-Brock,
    1984). The dog is not native to Africa and was introduced at an
    unknown period in the past. Epstein (1971, 1) who reviewed this
    question at length, shows that dogs were known in Egypt in the pre-
    Dynastic period and so could have been brought across the desert in
    prehistoric times. It is likely that there have been multiple
    introductions from different sources, although the only race found
    in Central Africa is what Epstein calls the "pariah dog". Dogs are
    kept everywhere in Africa for hunting and security purposes. Frank
    (1 965) has exhaustively reviewed the literature on domestic dogs in
    Africa, and Epstein (1 97 1) has examined the evidence for the
    evolution of the African dog.
    The crested or helmet guinea-fowl, Numida meleagris galeata, Pallas,
    is part of the native fauna of West Africa. It is distributed from
    Senegambia to Cameroon and is also found in a part of Western Zaire.
    It was presumably domesticated long ago, although the larger domestic
    races closely iesemble their wild countei-parts. There are several wild
    species and geneia of guinea-fowl in West and East Africa, notably
    N. nzeleagris nzeleagris in Sudan and Ethiopia, but apparently only
    N. nzekagris galeata has been domesticated (see Donkin 199 1, Map 1).
    Wild guinea-fowl are still regularly trapped as a source of food and
    their eggs are raided in the bush. Mongin and Plouzeau (1 984) present
    an overview of recent scholarship on the guinea-fowl worldwide while
    Ayeni (1 983) summarises existing infoimation for West Africa. Donkin
    (1991) is an "ethnogeographical" study of the guinea-fowl that
    synthesises a great deal of scattered material, especially on the
    iconography of the guinea-fowl in the Mediteiranean. Blench (1999 b)
    summarises the recent evidence for the history of the guinea-fowl in
    The history of the domestic pig in Africa remains highly controversial.
    Although the wild pig, Sus scrofa, is native to north Africa, and its

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 53 V
    range extends along the Atlantic Coast to the Senegal River, there is
    no evidence that it was ever domesticated in Africa (Epstein 1971, II).
    Pigs are usually thought to have been domesticated in Anatolia and
    the earliest archaeological finds of pigs date back to 7000 BC.
    Domesticated pigs were kept in the Ancient Near East and Egypt from
    the end of the fifth millennium BC (Epstein 197 1, II: 340). Pigs were
    known along the North African littoral, and seem to have spread down
    the Nile at least as Sennar, where they are still kept (Spaulding &
    Spaulding 1988). Pigs cannot be herded and are generally not kept
    by pastoralists unless they settle. Since pigs cannot survive by grazing
    for more than part of the year and depend on grown food they are
    usually kept by settled farmers. There is evidence that semi-feral pigs
    spread into the Omotic-speaking regions of the Ethiopian borderland
    and westward at least as far as Kordofan (see map of sites where pigs
    were recorded in Spaulding & Spaulding (1988)) and may have spread
    to West-Central Africa along a corridor from Darfur to Lake Chad.
    Blench (1999 c) summarises the recent evidence for the history of
    the domestic pig in Africa.
    !Linguistic Evidence
    This section sets out the principal base forms proposed to illustrate
    the inter-Saharan connection. 1have given apparent or actual cognates
    in Berber, Egyptian and Semitic where these have been proposed
    rather than omit evidence that may run contrary to the argument
    proposed here. I have not given the source of the data for each
    attestation to keep the references to manageable length. In most cases
    these are standard published sources and are listed in the references.
    #+a,"cow, cattle"
    West and Central Chadic attest a form something like $a-with likely
    cognates in East Chadic (Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow 1994,I: 43).
    Southein Cushitic also has a voiceless lateral: #J-, in the same Ci slot
    (Ehret 1987: 80).
    Related terms seem to be found in Semitic but not in Berber or
    Egyptian, if the 411 coi~espondence holds. Cohen (1 947: 182) presents
    an #1-series for Semitic, including Akkadian lu and Soqotri le3e:

    54 V
    L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    Acronyms/Toponyms etc.
    'Central Africa' here refers to the area presently
    encompassed by Chad, Cameroon and Central
    African Republic.
    Spellings can be phoneniic (where the language
    has been analysed in depth), phonetic (where the
    foim given is the surface form recorded in field-
    work) or orthographic (talen froni earlier sources
    with inexplicit rules of transcription). The follo-
    wing table gives the fornis used here and their IPA
    This Other IPA
    Work Orthographic (1993)
    Y j
    c ch ts
    j dj d3
    5 dl. zl, 2 B
    4 il, hl, SI. S 4
    Words extractcd froni French sources have been
    normalised to niake coniparison easier.
    Tone and stress marks
    The exact sigiiificance of tone-niarks varies froni
    one language to another and I have used the
    conventions of the authors in the case of published
    languages. The usual conventions are :
    Mid unniarked
    In non-tonal languages, such as South Arabian,
    stress on vowels is niarhed with an acute accent,
    a convention 1 have retained.
    In Afroasiatic languages with vowel length distinc-
    tions, only the first vowel of a long vowel is tone-
    marked. Some nineteenth century sources, such as
    Heinrich Barth, use diacritics to mark stress or
    length. These have been 'translated' into modein
    notation to avoid theconfusing implication of tone-
    Vowel Length
    Long vowels are usually niarked by doubling in
    African languages but are often transcribed with a
    macron in Semitic etc. All long vowels have been
    transcribed by doubling Io make comparison
    A word prefaced by # represents a pseudo-recons-
    Lniction. in other words a form denved from inspec-
    tion of roots that looks probable, but has notbeen
    rigorously established through sound-correspon-
    dences. This contrasts with *, used to indicate
    reconstructions from systeniatic sound-corres-
    Reconstmction established froni coniplete
    analysis of sound-change
    # 'Quasi-reconstruction' established from
    quick inspection of CO,Onates
    BC Benue-Congo
    BES Berber-Egyptian-Semitic
    C Consonant
    Eth Ethiopic (unlocated Ethiopian root)

    HEC Highland East Cushitic
    N Nasal
    NC Niger-Congo
    NS Nilo-Saharan
    PAA Proto-Afroasiatic
    PC Proto-Cushitic Ehret, 1987
    PEC Proto-Eastein Cushitic Ehret, 1987
    PO Pinto-Oniotic
    PS Prolo-Seniitic
    PWS Proto-West Sudanic Westerniann, 1927
    s/r sniall ruminant (in tables)
    V Vowel

    R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 55 V
    Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    A A Cushitic Agaw Bilin lawi cow
    East Gedeo lali cattle
    Oromo loon cattle
    West Rift Iraqw 3 ee cow
    Chadic West Ngizim 4à cow

    wild bull
    Arabic la'an bull
    Ié'llh6ti cow 1
    Kuliak II, 13 cow l
    1Table 1
    Attestations of #+a, "cow, cattle".

    which may form a cognate set. These may: however, refer to the wild
    bull, still present in the Middle East and Arabia in the fifth millenium
    BC. Leslau (1938: 61) points out that the Hebrew persona1 name
    "Leah" is almost certainly cognate with these forms. The common
    Ethio-Semitic #lam for cow is something of a puzzle (Appleyard
    1977: 26). Semitic scholars seem generally unwilling to connect this
    with the lateral fricative roots in Cushitic. As a result it has been
    suggested that the 1-!z-nz roots meaning "food" in Arabic and "shark"
    in Soqotri (lehenz) are cognate. A semantic coi~espondence between
    "shark" and "cow" has a certain Greenbergian charm, but Akkadian
    Lu'ui11 "wild bull" is surely more likely. Leslau (1979, II: 379) also
    notes a comparison with Arabic lihm, "aged ox".
    #saa, "cattle"
    This root is a suppletive plural for "cow", i.e. "cattle" throughout
    Eastern Cushitic and Beja. Hudson reconstmcts *sa?a for Highland
    East Cushitic and Ehret (1987: 61) has reconstiucted *Sua!- for Proto-

    56 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    Cushitic. An interesting further possible link suggested by Beja is
    with words for rhinoceros. Beja Se pl. Sa for rhinoceros is certainly
    close to the common plural for cattle Sa'. Since these two animals
    would have inhabited the same ecological niche in the pre-
    domestication period, such a semantic shift is at least plausible.
    This root is analysed by Pilszczikowa (1960) who links it with words
    for "sheep" in Semitic and Egyptian. Behrens (1985: 179) and
    Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 43) assume that the roots with
    lateral fricatives in Ciare also cognate. This analysis is not adopted
    Although attested in Hausa, sâa is an isolated citation and it seems
    likely that this is a loanword, possibly from Berber or directly from
    Arabic. The same may apply to the isolated Kotoko witness the source
    of which may be Shuwa Arabic, which has sâ 'a, meaning "wealth in
    livestock"4. Other attestations related to shaanui~occur in Old Semitic
    langages, for example, Akkadian sa'ni*m,and in Berber. Tamachek
    1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1
    AA Cusliitic Beja Beja Sa. pl. 3a'a CON
    Eastern Sidanio saa cow
    A Far saga
    Proto-Cushitic *J~~,. (Ehret)
    Chadic West Hausa siiniyii
    sâa pl. sliaanuu
    Central Kotoko h'sââ
    Semitic Akkadian ga'num
    Shuwa Arabic sâ'a
    Brrbrr Tamachek eesu. pl. eeswaan
    1 Tamazight esu cow 1
    NS Kuliak Tepeth saa cattle kraal
    C. Sudnnic Sara Ndoka sa+ cow
    Modo si cow
    1Table 2
    Attestations of #saa, "cattle".

    R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 57 V
    eeswaan "cattle". The nasals seem to be added in Berber-Egyptian-
    Semitic forms. Althoiigh these roots clearly CO-exist in Afroasiatic,
    the absence of widespread attestations for s-in Chadic do suggest
    boirowing from Berber.
    #k-1-rn, "bull"
    The Chadic #k-m-(bull) resembles closely the common Agaw term
    for "cattle", something like #karn-(Appleyard 1984: 39). Jungraith-
    mayr and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 43) consider this connected with more
    widespread Chadic roots for "meat". Cushitic forms usually have
    #k-Y-IIIso Agaw may have shortened this. Cohen (1 947: 112) noted
    a common Afroasiatic k-for "bull" though he speculated that it was
    possibly a widespread loan. Although this word occurs throughout
    West Rift it so closely resembles the Ethiopian foims that it is probably
    Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    AA Omotic N. Ometo Maale k'6lnio cattle
    S. Onieto Koy ra Ltymo cattle
    Cushitic Agaw Bilin kam cattle
    East Gedeo korma bull
    Arbore koll catt le
    Southrrn Iraqw karamao Steer
    Chadic West Kulere kyààl cattle
    Karrkare kwàni bull
    Central Hwana k wÈl bull
    East Lele kdl-b& cattle
    Mubi kiyi cattle
    Ancient Egyptian km3 bull
    Saharan Kanuri k5nni calf
    (O) This root also occurs in a number 1 Table 3
    of Bantu languages in Tanzania and I assume
    Attestations of #k-1-m, "bull"
    these are loans from West Rift languages.
    4 Also a cornmon association in Indo-European; see "cattle" and "capital"

    58 V L'homme el l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    a recent loan rather than an old retention, since the practice of using
    pack-oxen is probably not as old as domestication.
    Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    AA Ornotic S. Ometo Zayse-Zergula gal6
    Cushitic Brja tagar
    Agaw Bilin gar
    East Burji giree
    Arbore goran heifer
    Somali agor bull calf
    Chadic West Mburku $'wi cow
    Znnr gààl cow
    Central Guduf dayalr bull
    Vulum gàrii bull
    Semitic West Ugaritic '-3.1 calf
    Hebrew Teegel calf
    Egyptian Coptic ~gol calf
    NS E. Sudanic Nubian Nobiin ;or calf
    1Table 4
    Attestations of #gor, "calf"

    #gor, "calf"
    This root was suggested by Bechhaus-Gerst (1 999) as a loanword
    into Nobiin. However, it clearly is more widespread as Table 4 shows,
    assuming the Chadic forms are indeed cognate.
    The Zayse-Zergula citation may be a single loanword, since this is
    not a common form for calf in Omotic. The Chadic forms are almost
    certainly cognate with each other, but less certainly cognate with the
    Cushitic forms.

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 59 V
    #b-g-r, "male ruminant"
    Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    A A Ornotic Mocha big0 sheep
    Shinasha baggoo sheep
    Cushitic A;aw (= Central) Bilin bagga sheep
    Chadic West Karekare bùgùrk sheep
    Kwaarni rnb6Mri sherp
    Central Racarna b6;Gré sheep
    Musgu béggere he-;oat
    East Mokilko bû-ggàR cattle
    Kera ku-purki he-;oat
    Sernitic Centriil Shuwa Arabic bagar cattle
    South Harsüsi bakarat cattle
    Bzrber Tarnachek Ni;er A-beg;ug sheep
    NS Saharan Saharan Zaghawa b66guri young
    rnamied man
    E. Sudanic Nubian Nobiin fag goa
    1Table 5
    Attestations of #b-g-r, "male ruminant".

    Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 8 1) cite this as #b-k-r, a pan-
    Chadic root and describe this as a Wanderwort. Given its widespread
    distribution in Afi-oasiatic and the antiquity of goat domestication,
    there is no reasons why this should be so. However, they also (op.
    cit. 148) give #baga for "sheep" in Central Chadic and these roots
    must almost cei~inly be combined. The Berber citation (fi-om Behrens,
    1985: 167 ex Heinrich Barth) is unusual and not otherwise attested
    in Berber; it may therefore be a loanword. Bechhaus-Gerst (1989)
    also argues that the West Rift forms such as Lraqw be'i are also related,
    although this involves vowel changes and the assumption that the
    deleted consonant is /g/.The -ri consonant common to Semitic and
    Chadic is curious, suggesting a source in Ethiopic not synchronically

    60 7
    i'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    #kol, "goat"
    Phylum Family
    Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    A A Omotic
    N. Ometo Maalc k6le goat
    South Karo k'oli goat

    Cushitic East
    Burji k'al-60 goat
    Yaaku k311-&h castratr goat
    Rendille kelex castrate goat
    Chadic West Koîjar Loor largl
    castrate goat
    Bade akun goat
    Central Dera kwiarào goat
    Uroovin xwun goat
    Ysdina kàanio goat
    Kuliak 1k ka1 goat
    Kadu Central Katcha k3r3mak goat
    E. Sudanic Suimic Bodi koloy goat
    Temein Dese kwjrarnàl he -g09t
    E. Nilotic Turkana
    a-korai 209t
    S. Nilotic Proio-Kalenjin "~WEr he -goai
    Snharari Kanuri kaliwo virgin she-goal
    (O) These may be loans from Kanuri kanyîand thus indirectly or unconnected
    1Table 6
    Attestations of #kol. "goat"

    #t-m-k, "sheep"
    The base form #t-ln-koccurs in Afroasiatic, Saharan, and Niger-Congo
    (not cited in the table) and is definitely a Wanderwort. Newman
    (1 977: 3 1) proposes *tanzki for sheep in proto-Chadic and
    Jiingraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 148) note its presence in al1
    branches of Chadic, but they do not consider the exteinal Afroasiatic
    lookalikes to be cognate. The word for a two-yeai- old sheep in Teda-
    Daza, durna, is cognate with the Kanuri term di'nzi and lamb turna as

    Fi. BLENCH-The westward wanderinqs of Cushitic pastoralists
    with the Berti tanzi. The boirowings into Niger-Congo would have
    come from multiple introductions in the West African Sahel at the
    termini of trans-Saharan routes.
    Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation
    AA Cushitic East Oromo turnzamaa
    Chadic West Hausa tunkiyii.
    pl. tumaikii
    Central Bade taarnan.
    Hiei of Kiria tlmbaka
    Tpala tàrnâk
    Masa Masa dirniina
    East Mubi turnik
    Kera taamagi
    Berbsr Wargla adanimani
    NS C. Sudanic Moru-Madi Moru temilé
    Kadu Eastern Krongo diirnà
    1 Saharan Kanuri dirni
    Kanuri tania
    Beni tami
    1Table 7
    Attestations of #t-m-(k),"sheep".

    The third literal, -k-,only occurs in Chadic and is presumably an early
    affix or compound. As the Oromo citation seems to be isolated, without
    further evidence the provenance of this root as Erythraic must remain
    doubtful. However, the Nilo-Saharan citations look convincing,
    providing sonle evidence for the base form further East in Central
    Africa. The Berber citation is interesting, since this word explicitly
    applies to hair sheep that have been bi-ought from Mali and Niger
    (Delheure 1987: 53). It is likely that al1 such forms in Berber are
    loanwords fi-om Chadic or even Saharan.
    61 V
    hair sheep
    female zoat
    Sernale larnh

    62 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    #'aare, "srnall ruminants"
    Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    AA Omotic Koyra ?&are Rock of shwp
    Cushitic Beja Beja ano. annee e we
    East Burji aray
    Rendille 'a@ s'r
    South Gorwaa aaraa ;o;its
    Chadic West Hausa irà-ir8 lune-lc;;ed sir
    East Lele ore ;o;its
    Semitic Guraze Muher Br2z
    Berber Guanche ara ;oat
    Kuliak 1k ri goat
    E. Sudanic E. Jebel Gaam àar shcep
    Nubian Meidob arar ram
    Nyiman: Dinik Ér sheep
    Maba Masalit Br i i-am
    Fur Fur w-ùri ewr
    Saharan Za;hii~,a aro ewe
    66rù flock
    arro he-zoat
    1Table 8
    Attestations of #'aare, "small ruminants"

    The Guanche citation is curious and may well be just coincidence.
    Perhaps related is a root that floats between sheep and goat, onu,
    which appears as a word for ewe in Beja but surfaces in Gurage as
    "goat". These could be a subset of Proto-Semitic #n-z.
    #xorge, "he-goat"
    Ehret (1987: 22) reconstructs Proto-Cushitic *?erg-for "small
    ruminant" but this is most likely "he-goat" to judge by the predominant

    R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 63 V
    1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1
    AA Ongota Ongota orgai-ko goat
    Omotic Omet« Wolaitta lorggé he-goat
    Cushitic East Harso orkakk6 he-goal
    Saho xarge he-goat
    Borana orge hzifer came1 (!)
    South Asax 'a'aku sheep
    T'roto-Cushitico *?org-small ruminant
    Chadic West Hausa àwiakii she-goat
    Ngizim iakù soat
    Central Ndrenie àwik goat
    l1 "Proto-Chadicoo
    7 -
    l NS Saharan
    East Dangla
    (0) Ehret (1987: 22)
    ("0) Newman (1977).
    1Table 9
    Attestations of #xorge, "he-goat"

    gloss. This particular root has both Omotic and even Ongota cognates>
    although these could well be loans (Table 9).
    Since this form does not otherwise occur in Nilo-Saharan, the Teda
    attestation may be a recent loanword.
    Newman (1977) gives #a(w)kuas a proto-Chadic reconstruction, but
    there seem to be sufficient attestations of a Iateral in C2 position in
    Cushitic to add this to the reconstruction. Jungraithmayr and
    Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 43) give the root as "wk-and similarly attest its
    presence in al1 branches of Chadic. These are almost certai~ily cognate
    with the Cushitic kor-roots. Indeed it is possible to speculate that
    kor-and org-are in fact the same root with metathesis.

    64 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    #m-r-k, "castrated small ruminant"
    1 Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1
    A A Omotic N. Ometo Wolaitta mara larnb
    Koy ra mari ram
    Chadic West Polci niaar gout
    Tangale rnara castrate goat
    Masa Masa marak castrate goat
    East Birgid mar bu Il
    NS Maba Masalit mar-Sa bull
    Fur Fur Fur m aà lanib
    Tama Tama mi bull
    C. Sudanic Modo mùrikù castrated sheep
    E. Sudanic W. Nilotic Dinh -Bol- aniiil shssp
    E. Nilotic Tes0 e-rnerek2k ran~
    Nubian Birgid niar ra rn
    1 Suimic Murle rnerkee ram
    1Table 10
    Attestations of #m-r-k. "castrated ruminant"

    This root is so widely attested that it is suiprising to find no evidence
    for Cushitic.
    The historical and archaeological evidence for the wild ass or donkey
    does not appear to suggest either early domestication or transmission
    to West Africa. The linguistic evidence, however, is clear. The #k-r
    root is spread from Omotic to West Chadic, with intervening Nilo-
    Saharan attestations and is also largely apparently absent in BES
    which Ilas a series of quite distinct roots.
    The most likely history of this root is that it originally developed as
    a word applied to "wild ass". probably in Ethiopia. Bender (1 988:
    152)reconstructs proto-Omotic "krrrfor ass. Skinner cites *dAn&i~Ar
    for proto-Cushitic based on forms such as Bilin daxllara. The dV-
    prefix strikingly links Southern Cushitic and Agaw and is apparently

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists
    65 V
    Phylum Family
    Branch Language Attestation
    AA Omotic
    Gimira Benr Non kur
    Mao Hozo
    Southem Karo
    Agaw Bilin
    Cushitic Eastern
    Saho okaalo
    West Rift Iraqw
    Chadic West
    Karekare k6or6o
    Central Vulum
    Masa Pevc
    East Nanrere
    NS E. Sudanic
    W. Nilotic Mabaan tmrm
    Temein Keiga-Jiriu kul-kjq

    C. Sudanic Sara Mbay k6ro
    Saharan Kanuri k6ro
    1Table 11
    Attestations of #k-r, "donkey".

    not attested in Eastein Cushitic at all. The Mabaan form is only cognate
    if initial t- coi~esponds to k-. Although the West Chadic forms closely
    resemble those of Masa and East Chadic, they may be loanwords
    from Kanuri.
    This is an extremely widespread root through the Horn of Africa, and
    appears virtually unchanged in niimerous East Cushitic and Omotic
    langiiages. This suggests that it is probably a widespread loanword
    and should not be reconstructed to Proto-Ciishitic. The Ethio-Semitic
    languages have a different word, cognate with the Near Eastern Semitic
    root h-171-r:argiling that the ancestral speakers of these languages
    already had a domestic donkey when they crossed the Bab el Mandeb.
    The most probable source for harre are the Oromoid words for "zebra".
    Zebras are not part of the fauna of the highlands but they are
    widespread in the lowlands south of the Ethiopian Plateau and are

    66 V L'homme et i'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    very familiar to pastoral groups such as the Borana. Borana has harre
    dida for zebra, with dida meaning "outdoors" or "open air" The term
    harre was probably originally a word for zebra in lowland Oromoid
    and was transferred to donkey once it was fully domesticated. The
    zebra would then become the "donkey of the plains". Formations
    such as Konso harr-etita for "zebra" would be calques of the Borana
    expression, already using the borrowed word for donkey. The
    development of the donkey as pack animal is probably reflected in
    the Beja harri "anything ridden, from a came1 to a train".
    In the Hoin of Africa, an old root for the wild ass #kuur-was largely
    displaced by #harre when the domesticated donkey developed
    economic significance. The term #harre was probably borrowed from
    terms in lowland Oromoid originally applied to "zebra".
    Arguing historically from terms for "dog" presents a special problem;
    these words have an astonishing similarity across much of Eurasia.
    For example, proto-Omotic for dog is *kan(Bender 1988: 145) closely
    resembling Proto-Indo-European *bon-(Rabin 1982: 27). Similar
    forms are also found in proto-Austronesian and Chinese. Newman
    (1 977) proposes #kar-for the original proto-Chadic, forms of which
    also show up in Nilo-Saharan and is identical to English "cur".
    Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994, 1: 49) note the widespread
    1-eflexes of this root across Chadic and consider it may reflect a "Central
    Saharan areal lexeme". Linguistically. therefore, probably the only
    useful evidence comes from compounded or affixed forms.
    If, as Bender (1975: 159) and Skinner (1977: 187) suggest, this root
    is common Afroasiatic, then Akkadian k-l-b,Arabic kalb and Kabylé
    akelbun al1 form part of a cognate set. The k-l-b root is also applied
    to wolves in Eurasia (e.g. South Arabian languages) but this is probably
    a secondaiy meaning as wolves are absent in Africa. The South Semitic
    languages, such as Mehn and Soqotri, explicitly apply the same word
    kalb to both "dog" and "wolf'. The third radical, -b,is now generally
    considered to be an affix marking wild animals and would not
    necessarily travel with the remainder of the word. Rabin (1982: 27)
    notes that forms such as Latin canis may be direct loans from
    Afroasiatic. Historically speaking, given the Middle Eastein origins

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 67 V
    Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
    AA Ornotic Common *kana
    Cushitic Beja Beja keluus PUPPY
    Agaw Bilin zadar]
    East Saho kare
    Gawwada xar-o
    Konso kuta
    South Asax kite
    Chadic West Hausa kàree
    Central Bata kade
    Kada kara
    East Mokilko zédè
    Sokoro kuyo
    Sernitic Central Ugaritic k-1-b
    South Soqotri kalb
    Berber Kabyle akelbun PLlPPS
    NS Kuliak Trpeth kudo'
    Saharan Kanuri
    1 able 12
    Attestations of #k-r, "dog"
    of the dog, this is not improbable. Agaw terms for dog, such as Bilin
    gadag, seem to resemble Central Chadic foims very closely, although
    this may be accidental similarity.
    Another root with some promise is #k-t-r for "puppy". This lexical
    item is much more rarely recorded, and therefore less certain. However,
    this root has the advantage that it does not appear to be con-espondingly
    widespread across the world in the same way as the basic terms
    for "dog".
    The #t-t-1forms are only found in Gurage and probably loans from

    68 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation
    AA Cushitic East Haddiya tuu!iilla
    South Gorwaa kut~ikuti
    Chadic West Karekare tiiutùu
    Central Bura kutiru
    East Bidiya kurkido
    Semitic Gurage Zway ~ulalla
    Saharan Kanuri kut~~rii
    1Table 13
    Attestations of #k-t-r, "puppy"

    The most comrnon root in Chadic is #sVb-vVn which Skinner (1 977:
    192-3) shows is spread throughout the family. Skinner argues from
    this that the word has spread recently, but this seems unlikely as the
    guinea-fowl is indigenous to the region. Newman (1977) also notes
    this root and proposes #zaban for proto-Chadic while Jungraithmayr
    and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 84) propose #z-b-1. Strikingly, the foi-ms in
    Cushitic are very similar. The common Ethiopic i-oot appears to be
    #z-g-r,widespread in Cushitic and Ethio-Semitic; whether its witnesses
    in Omotic are more than sporadic loans remains to be seen. This root
    also means "spotted" in many languages. Ehret (1987: 54) suggests
    *zagr-for proto-Cushitic, but Agaw foims have -n-in the C, slot and
    centralised vowels in VI and V2.
    Linguistic evidence suggests thai some of the pigs in West Africa
    were introduced at an early period by the Portuguese, "unimproved
    Iberian swine", as Epstein has it. Loanwords from Portuguese porco
    are widely found in the coastal region of Nigeria (Williamson, P.C.).
    But there is also evidence for a chain of teims stretching from Eastein
    Burkina Faso to the Sudan-Ethiopian borderlands that appear to be
    unrelated to European introductions. Spaulding & Spaulding (1988).

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderinas of Cushitic oastoralists 69 V
    Bechhaus-Gerst (1999) and Blench (1999 c) have made preliminary
    compilations of the evidence (Table 14).
    1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation 1
    Kornan Anej kutum
    ES Nyirnang kudur
    Old Nobiin kutun
    Maba Aiki ginvà wart-hog (?C)
    Saharan Kanuri godu warthog
    Kadu Karndanz b-oburuk. pl. k-aburuk
    Kordofanian Ori; kàdifi
    Benue-Congo Nupe kutsü
    Kwa Fon agurusa
    Gur Dagbane kurutJu
    Bantu #CB #-$du wild pis
    Ornotic Kefa gudinoo
    A A Sernitic Sudan Arabic kadruuk
    Chadic Hausa ;hduu
    1 Table 14
    Attestations of #-kutu, "pig".

    This root appears in Nilo-Saharan. Niger-Congo and Afroasiatic and
    can also be applied both to the warthog and the bush-pig
    (Potamochoerus porcus). Manessy (1972: 314) points out that the
    chain of lexemes connecting to the Gur languages can be traced
    through dialect and obsolete terms for domestic pig given in Koelle.
    It was also cited by Gregersen (1972: 86) who used this as evidence
    for a proposed "Kongo-Saharan" grouping (wrongly, given that it is
    clearly a widespread cultural loan). Gregersen (op. cit.) also mentions
    Greenberg's suggestion that the Saharan form was loaned into *PB.
    Schadeberg and Elias (1 979: 84) observe that this root has been loaned
    into Sudariese Arabic to give kudruuk.
    The linguistic evidence is rather compelling; it suggests strongly that
    the small black pigs of the interior of Africa were indeed part of an

    70 V Chomme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    ancient pig-keeping culture that spread across Central Africa from
    the Nile. Pigs were kept in a semi-fera1 manner either roaming
    throughout the year or only being confined during the growing season.
    The rise of Islam drove pig production into pockets, and the intro-
    duction of larger European breeds which crossed freely with the local
    pigs has virtually obscured their genetic heritage. The pig, the
    "democratic philosopher of the Medieval Sudan" needs to be
    highlighted as a significant element in African subsistence strategies.
    It may be, however, the transmission of the domestic pig was
    chronologically and culturally distinct from the pastoral movement
    proposed in this paper; pastoralists usually eschew pigs because they
    cannot move long distances.
    iThe "Inter-Saharan" Hypothesis
    Tentative Historical lrnplications
    A rather unexpected consequence of the study of domestïc animal
    names is the numbei- of common lexical items shared between Cushitic
    and Chadic. This tends to confirm the studies of Mukarovsky (1990,
    in press) on numerals and body parts. If this is correct, then Cushitic
    and Chadic may shai-e a special relationship and be opposed to Berber-
    Egyptian-Semitic or "North Afroasiatic" (Ehret 1995). The links
    between Cushitic and Chadic would then be the result of a migration
    of Cushitic speakers westward. This is a considerable distance and
    might be explained by the gradua1 migration of pastoralist peoples.
    The example of the Ful6e pastoralists who have expanded from
    Senegambia to the borders of Sudan in the last millennium show that
    such a migration can occur (Blench, 1995b, 1999d). The animals
    accompanying this migration would have been three species of
    ruminant: cattle, goats and sheep. More controversially, donkeys,
    dogs, pigs and guinea-fowl may also have been associated with this
    movement, although perhaps not kept as pastoral species.
    Speakers migrated from the Nile Valley to Lake Chad, as would the
    Shuwa Arabs, millennia later. Languages related to present-day Chadic
    were presumably once spoken in a strip across present-day Sudan but

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 71 V
    were later eliminated by movements of Nilo-Saharan speakers
    (Map 1). Little-known Chadic languages such as Kujarke, spoken in
    Western Sudan, may well be the last suiviving remnants of this process
    (Blench, in press, b).
    Archaeological Correlations
    Such a significant long-distance movement of actual population as
    implied by this model should have archaeological correlates. One of
    the distinct problems in relating linguistic to archaeological evidence
    is the patchy nature of excavation. Sudan is relatively well covered,
    but data for Chad and the relevant regions of Ethiopia and Nigeria
    remain spasse indeed. To seek sites or traditions that might provide
    material evidence for such a movement, certain parameters must be
    established. The linguistic data provides no inteinal evidence for
    dating although the model has to allow sufficient time for the intemal
    diversity of Chadic languages to develop. Such a movement of pastoral
    peoples must also lie within the known parameters of ruminant
    A likely candidate for the wandering Cushites is the Leiterbatzd pottery
    tradition that has been identified in the Eastern Sahara, most
    specifically in the Wadi Howar, which is a now dry river system that
    stretches oves 1000 km between Eastern Chad and the Nile Valley 5.
    The Howar ends just beyond the Sudanese border and the proposed
    migrating pastoralists would then have faced a substantial obstacle
    in the shape of the Ennedi and Biltine mountainous regions which
    run Noith-South. However, there is a gap between these two outcrops
    which would permit pastoral migration, and the herds would then
    pick up the Wadi Hawach and thence a seiies of smaller wadis, iunning
    towards Lake Chad.
    Leiterband traditions were first identified by Kuper (1 98 1) as distinct
    from Nubian C-group pottery. They have been subsequently studied
    in more detail by Keding (1 993) who argues that this tradition shows
    its strongest links with the Khartum Neolithic, out of which it may
    5 1 am grateful to Jean-Charles Clanet, who encouraged me to examine
    the geography of this region more closely.

    72 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
    develop. Keding shows that the pottery traditions are strongly
    associated with cattle-keeping and indeed complete cattle skeletons
    have been found in pits on Leiterband sites. From this she argues that
    the makers of the pottery were pastoralists who also supplemented
    their diet with fish, at that period widely available in the rivers. This
    pastorallfishing economy is extremely familiar today from the Nilotic-
    speakers in the region. such as the Dinka. Map 1 shows the projected
    route of the speakers of proto-Chadic as well as the approximate
    locations of the wadis referred to above.
    O 1 000 km /
    Cushltrc (taday) Cushific (presumed former exlensian)
    1Map 1
    Proposed migrations of Chadic-speakers.

    Leiterband traditions have yet to be convincingly dated directly, but
    if the chronological sequence linking it with the Khartum Neolithic
    is correct, then it would begin to develop appioximately 4000 BP.
    This would suit the present hypothesis extremely well: if the Cushites

    R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 73 V
    began their westward movement from Ethiopia some 6-5 000 years
    BP they may have been responsible for the Khartum Neolithic
    (beginning 5700 BP) and then gradually spread westwards along the
    Wadi Howar some 4000 years ago. The increasing aridity after this
    period severed the links with the Nile Valley allowing an independent
    evolution of decorative styles. In the meantime, the continuing
    westward drift reaches Lake Chad Ca. 3000 BP. This would then link
    with the earliest dates for cattle in this region at about this period
    (Breunig et al. 1994).
    v Conclusion
    Various models of the internal structure of Afroasiatic have been
    pi-oposed, most notably those of Fleming (1983), Ehret (1 975, 1999,
    Stolbova and Orel (1 995), Bender (1997) and Blakek (in press). The
    terminology of domestic livestock suggests strongly that Cushitic
    and Chadic share a special relationship and that this is reflected in
    the terminology for species of domestic animals. As names for
    domestic animals are notoi-iously susceptible to loaning, the
    demonstration of such links is far fi-om constituting proof of the
    specific Cushitic-Chadic relationship. However, other evidence also
    supports this notion, pointing to an avenue for further investigation.
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