Lexicostatistical Studies in Khoisan I: The Ju-ǂHoan Relationship
This paper is the first one in an intended series of publications on lexicostatistical relations between several linguistic groupings that have all been assigned by Joseph Greenberg to the hypothetical Khoisan macrofamily. Here, we examine the numbers and natures of various matches between the basic lexicon of two such groupings: the closely related cluster of Ju (North Khoisan) dialects and the Eastern ǂHoan language, formerly considered an isolate but now widely regarded as the closest, and only non-controversial, genetic relative of Ju. Based on both superficial and etymological analysis of the data (including the reconstruction of a Swadesh wordlist for Proto-Ju), we conclude that there are from 32% to 44% matches between Proto-Ju and ǂHoan (depending on the degree of strictness required from phonetic correspondences), which is translatable to a time depth comparable with such families as Fenno-Ugric and Kartvelian. Additionally, the distribution of cognates between the various stability layers of the basic lexicon is analyzed, leading to the conclusion that the matches are indeed indicative of genetic relationship rather than areal contact.