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On Kunama <i>ukunkula</i> 'elbow' and its proposed cognates in Nilo-Saharan languages

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Abstract

There have been two attempts at reconstructing proto-Nilo-Saharan (pNS), yet they diverge widely. To illustrate the lack of consensus even at the level of cognate recognition among NS languages, I selected the Kunama word <i>ukunkula </i>“elbow” and found it to be included by several scholars in different etymologies which poorly overlap. One major disagreement bears on whether <i>ukunkula </i>consists of a unique duplicated stem or is a compound word. <i>Ukunkula </i>is often considered cognate with Songay <i>ha&#951;koro </i>(<i>honkoro</i>) and Berta <i>k'o&#951;k'olo&#951; </i>“elbow”. I propose here that <i>ukunkula </i>is unrelated and that the real Kunama cognate of the Songay and Berta nouns is <i>iko&#951;koro</i>- “to bend”. I could not find convincing cognates of <i>ukunkula </i>or <i>iko&#951;koro</i>- in Shabo and the Kadu family, likely affiliated to NS. Nevertheless, I present some other unpublished potential cognates between Shabo, Kadu and NS that may strengthen the case for a genetic relationship among them.

References

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