A (micro-)accretion zone in a remnant zone?

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The Lower Fungom region of Northwest Cameroon is one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the Cameroonian Grassfields. Seven languages, or small language clusters, are spoken in its thirteen recognized villages. While the languages are all recognizably Bantoid, most of them do not otherwise have any established close relatives. Lower Fungom, therefore, shares a number of characteristics with parts of the world that Nichols has classified as accretion zones. However, it differs from canonical accretion zones in its very small size and in the fact that all of its languages are uncontroversially related to each other at some level. This paper explores the multifaceted notion of an accretion zone, examining how the linguistic situation of Lower Fungom allows us to refine Nichols’s typology of linguistic areas and also suggests new kinds of research questions for areal typology.


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