Thursday, June 19, 2014

Methods for the Reconstruction of Proto-Negro-Egyptian

Mboli does not present an accurate description of Negro-Egyptian. The aim of his work is to make Negro-Egyptian agree with Proto-Indo-European vocabulary items. A good example is Mboli's reconstruction of the Negro-Egyptian term for horse.

Most researchers believe that the horse was introduced to Africa/Egypt by the Hysos after 1700BC. This is an interesting date, and far to late for the introduction of the horse given the archaeological evidence for horses at Maadi and the Sahel-Sahara zone.

In this region we find many horses depicted in the rock art. Some researchers have dated the rock art to after 1000 BC,based on the association of the camel with horses in the rock art.

Although the horse and camel are depicted in the rcok art of Nubia, the Sahel-Sahara and Upper Egypt they are considered to be related to the Graeco-Roman period . This date is far to late for the camel and horse to be used for domesticated purposes. During the Old Kingdom camel hair cord was used by the Egyptians .

Moreover camel figurines are found in Gerzean (3500 BC) and archaic Egyptian context .

In the Sahelian-Saharan rock art the horse frequently depicted. The horse is often associated with being rode by the personages depicted in the rock art . In the same area we find engravings of men capturing horses probably to be rode or harnessed to a chariot . There are numerous pictures of blacks riding in chariots. Some researchers have dated this art to 600 BC. This date is probably far to late given the fact that the horse is attested too early in the archaeological history of Saharan Africa as discussed above.


At Buhen, one of the major fortresses of Nubia, which served as the headquarters of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush a skeleton of a horse was found lying on the pavement of a Middle Kingdom rampart (W.B. Emery, A master-work of Egyptian military architecture 3900 years ago" Illustrated London News, 12 September, pp.250-251). This was only 25 years after the Hysos had conquered Egypt.The Kushites appear to have rode the horses on horseback instead of a chariot.


This suggest that the Kushites had been riding horses for an extended period of time for them to be able to attack Buhen on horseback. This supports supports the early habit of Africans riding horses as depicted in the rock art.This tradition was continued throughout the history of Kush.

The Kushites and upper Egyptians were great horsemen, whereas the Lower Egyptians usually rode the chariot, the Kushite calvary of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty usually rode on horseback (W.A. Fairservis, The ancient kingdoms of the Nile (London,1962) p.129).


The Nubians and Upper Egyptians were great horsemen whereas the Lower Egyptians usually rode the chariot, the Nubian warriors of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty rode on horseback . The appearance of the horse laying on a Buhen rampart may indicate it was used by Kushite warriors attacking Buhen. No matter what the use of the horse was, the linguistic evidence makes it clear that the horse was part of Saharan culture before the advent of the Indo-Europeans.

Below we compare the Malinke(M.)-Bambara (B.), Nubia (N), Wolof (W.) Hausa, Tamil (Ta), Malayam (Mal) Somali (Som.) Kanarese (Ka.) Telugu (Tel.) Kordofan Nubian (KN) languages. The African languages belong either to the Niger–Congo Family or the Cushitic Family of languages.

  • Horse
    M. wolu, Bam. b’lu, wolo, N. unde Ta. Iyuli, Brahui hulli

    Other Dravidian-African terms for horse:
    Mande wolu Bam. B’lu, wolo
    Mande bara ‘grey horse’,
    Hausa baraba ‘swift horse’
    Wolof fas
    Somali fara-ka
    Egyptian nefer
    Serere pis
    Tamil , Mal. Pari
    Tamil payyeru,
    Fulani puucu
    Mande bari
    Ge’ez faras
    Galla or Oromo farda, ferda
    Ka. Karte
    Tamil kartai
    Hausa doki
    Tel. gadide
    Kanuri Nile koś
    Hausa godiya

The linguistic evidenc indicates that *par- / * far-., was probably the proto-Negro-Egpyptian term for horse not Mboli’s so-called M-E *hi-kĭphuř-u . For Mboli to claim that the proto- ME term for horse was *hi-kĭphuř-u for horse, when nefer was the Egyptian term for horse demonstrates how Mboli was trying to make Negro-Egyptian conform to Proto-Indo-European.


Granted, the base of the new PIE terms relating to a agro-pastoral and mining lifestyle for the Indo-European (IE) speakers are probably the result of IE people making African terms confrom to IE languages, the majority of proto-African terms will usually be CVC or CVCV in structure, not CCVC which is a characteristic of IE languages.

I will admit that I misread *h2gʰʷno- ou *h3gʰʷno-, as Negro-Egyptian, when they are really Proto-Indo-European (PIE). But I will not retract my contention that Mboli is trying to make African proto-words agree with PIE culture terms.

Mboli spends most of his time trying to make Proto-African/Negro-Egyptian terms agree with PIE constructions for the same word. A good example is the alledged proto-term 'cattle,cow': *ŋʷ-keŋʷe, which he says “corresponds to the Bantu word nguni "cattle," for which the Amazulu and kin are named (the nguni tribes)”. In historical linguistics and the reconstruction of proto-terms we apply the rule of Occam's Razor , the preference for simplicity in the scientific method of constructing proto-languages. If we apply Occam’s Razor to Mboli’s reconstruction of the proto-term *ŋʷ-keŋʷe « cattle », we find that it does not truly reflect the probable Proto-Bantu word for ‘cattle,cow’. Below are terms for ‘cow,cattle’.

  • Word.......Language
  • ‘engombe’ Shiyeyi
    ‘ŋombe’ Bemba
    ‘ngombo’ Bobangi
    ‘ngombo’ Bobangi (Congo)
    ‘ngombe’ Kikuyu (Kenya)
    ‘ng'ombe’ Swahili (Kenya & East Africa)
    ‘xaafu’ Bukusu (Kenya)
    ‘inkomazi’ Zulu (South Africa)
    ‘ongombe’ Kwanyama
    ‘ngombo’ Lingala
    ‘omgombe’ Mbundu
    ‘nkomo’ Ndebele
    ‘nbogoma’ Nyamwezi
    ‘inombe’ Xhosa
    ‘mombe’ Shona
    ‘ngoomba’ Yaka

In eyeballing the Bantu word for ‘cow,cattle’ notice they are CVC(C)V in structure. The initial nasal consonant is followed by vowel consonant and vowel again: CVC. Thus we have ŋ+omb+ e/a/ó=*ŋomb-

In the Bantu languages we often find an initial nasal consonant / ŋ /. This syllabic nasal consonant in Bantu languages is usually attached to human and animal animate classes. This means that the actual root word for ‘cow,cattle’ in the Bantu languages is *-omb -( + e/a/ó). Even though Mboli recognizes that / ŋ- / is the nasal affix, in his reconstruction of *ŋʷ-keŋʷe, this word has nothing to do with either nguni , and definitely not ngombe. In fact the addition of element /keŋʷe/ to / ŋ / is not supported by the words nguni , or ngombe. If you apply the rule of Occam's Razor, any researcher would see that the proto-Bantu term for ‘cattle,cow’ was / *ŋ-omb-/ (VCCV in structure) not *ŋʷ-keŋʷe. It is this need for Mboli, to find correspondence(s) between Proto-African terms and PIE that make me suspect the reliability and validity of his research.

Mboli should not care about making his reconstructions of proto-Negro-Egyptian conform to PIE. They should be made pursuant to African sound laws.


Another case of Mboli trying to make Negro-Egyptian conform to Proto-Indo-European terms is his reconstruction of the term for ‘ram’. Mboli claims that the PIE term for "lamb" *h2gʰʷno- ou *h3gʰʷno-, is also easily explained starting from Negro-Egyptian *(w.)xiŋʷ ‘ram’ .

The Paleo-African hunters quickly learned the habits of wild sheep and goats. As a result of this hunting experience and the shock of the short arid period after 8500 BC, Paleo-Africans began to domesticate goat/sheep to insure a reliable source of food. By 6000 BP the inhabitants of Tadrart Acacus were reliant on sheep and goats (Barich 1985).

The first domesticated goats came from North Africa. This was the screw horn goat common to Algeria, where it may have been deposited in Neolithic times. We certainly see goat/sheep domestication moving eastward: Tadrart Acacus (Camps 1974), Tassili-n-Ajjer , Mali (McIntosh & McIntosh 1988), Niger (Roset 1983) and the Sudan. Barker (1989) has argued that sheep and goats increased in importance over cattle because of their adaptation to desiccation.

The linguistic evidence indicates that ovicaprids were domesticated before the Proto-Saharan people migrated out of the Sahara into the Nile Valley, Europe and Asia. As a result we have proto-terms for sheep going back to Proto-Saharan times.



The Egyptian terms for sheep,ram are ø zr #, or ø sr # . In the terms for sheep we find either the consonant /s/ or /z/ before the consonant /r/, e.g., s>øa/e/i#________r. This corresponds to many other African terms for sheep, ram:

  • Language….Sheep, Ram
    Egyptian sr, zr
    Wolof xar
    Coptic sro
    Bisa sir
    Kouy siri
    Lebir sir
    Amo zara
    Bobofing se-ge,sege
    Toma seree
    Malinke sara
    Busa sa
    Bambara sarha,saga
    Koro isor
    Boko sa
    Bir sir
    Azer sege 'goat'
    Diola sarha
There is phonological contrast between s =/= z. We find both ø sr # and ø zr # for sheep. Here we have s>z/V_______(V)r. The proto- Niger-Congo term for ram,sheep was probably *sär / *zär.

As a result, I can not explain how Mboli was able to reconstruct the Negro-Egyptian term *(w.)xiŋʷ ‘ram’. The vocabulary items above make it evident that there was no aspirated /ŋʷ/ in Egyptian sr and Coptic sro terms for ‘ram’. It appears to me that Mboli said the NE term for ‘ram’ was *(w.)xiŋʷ to make it conform to PIE *h2gʰʷno- , or *h3gʰʷno-. The interesting fact about the antiquity of the term for ‘ram’ among NE speakers is the fact the same term appears in Dravidian and Sumerian.

It is interesting to note that the Bantu probably did not domesticate sheep goats as early as the Egyptians, Mande and Atlantic speakers. The Bantu term for ram,sheep was -buzi and -budi> mbuzi and mbudi.


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