Abstract

Aasá, a Cushitic language, was formerly spoken by a hunter-gatherer community that constitutes a servant group to the Maasai in northern Tanzania. Given that none of the ethnic Aasá surveyed in this study had ever spoken this language, their memory of it is remarkable and raises questions about how it is remembered. In this article, we consider what our corpus of collected data reveals about the patterns of recollection of Aasá and compare these patterns with similar instances of lexical retrieval in second-language attrition. The divergent recollection patterns identified in our study can be explained within the context of the historical reconstruction of language shift from Aasá to Maasai. We conclude that the data collected represent the vestiges of a stage of the shift at which Aasá was no longer a full-fledged language.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6527
Print ISSN
0003-5483
Pages
pp. 206-216
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-12
Open Access
No
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