chapter  11
18 Pages

Crabs, turtles and frogs: linguistic keys to early African subsistence systems

ByRoger Blench

One of the standard techniques of cultural and linguistic reconstructions of prehistory is the reconstruction of lexical items associated with subsistence. The assumption is that the presence of a plausible proto-form indicates that speakers of the proto-language were familiar with the object or practice in question. If, for example, ‘dog’ can be reconstructed for Proto-Indo European (PIE), the assumption is that speakers of *PIE were familiar with dogs.