The etymological database for the East Central Khoisan language subgroup, linked directly to the general Central Khoisan database. The relative scarcity of data here is explained by the fact that, as of now, not a single detailed and up-to-date dictionary of any East Central Khoisan language has been published. The same scarcity also affects the exactness and reliability of the overall classification.
Data sources: the primary, and the only fully reliable, source is Vossen 1997 ("Die Khoe Sprachen") as well as occasional additions from several of R. Vossen's articles that deal with East Central Khoisan material (Vossen 1998, etc.). Data on several other idioms comes from Dornan 1917 and sources in Dorothea Bleek's dictionary, but the transcription quality for these, as usual, leaves a lot to be desired.
The database consists of the following fields:
1. Proto-East Central Khoisan: the reconstructions more or less follow the system of correspondences as laid out in Vossen 1997, with a few minor modifications.
2. Meaning: the general meaning of the reconstructed stem.
3-7. |Xaise, Deti, Cara,Tsixa, Danisi: lexical data from the Shua subgroup, mostly taken from Vossen 1997.
8-10. Cua, Kua, Tsua: lexical data from the Tshwa subgroup, mostly taken from Vossen 1997. (NB: information on the Cua dialect is extremely scarce).
11. Hietshware: lexical data from Dornan 1917. This is the only more or less extensive vocabulary of an ECK idiom, belonging to the Tshwa subgroup but with some peculiarities of its own (Dornan's "Hietshware" is sometimes mistaken for Deti, since the title of the article is "The Tati Bushmen and their Language", but the phonetic, lexical and grammatical peculiarities of that idiom show that it is definitely closer to Kua and Tsua than to Vossen's Deti). Unfortunately, neither the transcription nor the given meanings of the lexemes can be deemed completely reliable.
12-13. Sehura, Mohissa: data extracted from brief notes by S. Passarge ("Die Buschmänner der Kalahari", Berlin 1907) on two idioms that unquestionably belong to the ECK subgroup due to sharing the same phonetic features (most importantly, palatalized non-click reflexes of the PCK palatal click). However, the quality of the transcription is even worse than in Dornan 1917, and the amount of material very small, so no definitive conclusions can be made on the subclassification of either.
14. Notes: additional comments and considerations.
15. References: bibliographical links.
Notes on transcription:
Clicks: | = dental click, ǂ = palatal click, ! = alveolar click, || = lateral click. For Sehura and Mohissa, the sign $ denotes an unidentified click influx in Passarge's notes (only "guessable" through comparison with external data).
Click effluxes include zero (no special marking), voiced articulation (ɡ|, etc.), nasalisation (ɳ|, etc.), aspiration (|h, etc.), velar fricative (|x, etc.), uvular stop (|q, etc.), and the glottal stop (|ʔ, etc.).
Non-click consonants: c, ʒ = hissing voiceless and voiced affricates (= ts and dz in Vossen's original transcription); č, ǯ = hushing voiceless and voiced affricates (very rarely met, usually local varieties of hissing affricates); ć, ʒ́ = palatal voiceless and voiced affricates (= c and j in Vossen's original transcription); q = uvular voiceless stop; ḱ, ǵ = palatal velars (= ky, gy in some transcriptions); ń = palatal nasal; ʔ = glottal stop.
Vowels: ɛ, ɔ = open correlates to closed e, o. The tilde sign denotes nasalisation; á, à, ǎ, â = tonal markings.
As in all other Khoisan databases, original transliteration is mostly retained for all sources older than 1980 for fear of incorrect interpretation of the data. In the case of Dornan 1917, it must be said that his transcription almost certainly confuses the dental and lateral clicks (| and ||), as well as constantly features the palatal click (ǂ) despite the fact that it could not have been present in the corresponding Hietshware entries.
Notes on reconstruction and classification:
East Central Khoisan is the most innovative of all CK subgroups, having for the most part dispensed with both the alveolar click (simply dropping it regardless of the efflux) and the palatal click (with the basic development *ǂ- > *ć- and subsequent multi-directional evolution depending on the former click efflux). However, from time to time several ECK languages feature deviant forms that seem to have irregularly preserved either the alveolar or the palatal click. For the most part, they have to be judged as re-borrowings from neighbouring West Central Khoisan languages.
One particular problem concerns the position of Tsixa. While it does share some features with the rest of the Shwa group, certain isoglosses on all levels speak strongly in favour of its re-classification as a West rather than East CK idiom. These include (a) the preservation of the palatal click in most cases (R. Vossen [Vossen 1997] thinks that the palatal click has been reintroduced into the language due to WCK influence, but this scenario is very hard to imagine); (b) some minor grammatical isoglosses, e. g. tí 'I' (as in WCK) vs. the common Shwa form ta; (c) some lexical isoglosses, e. g. ǂú 'head' vs. common Shwa mâ. Unfortunately, there is simply too few Tsixa data available to reach a final conclusion (even within the 100-wordlist; lexicostatistical calculations currently group Tsixa with the rest of Shwa, but it is possible that a more complete wordlist might change the situation), so for now we will stick with R. Vossen's classification.