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The Swahili
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The Swahili
Reconstructing the History and Language of an African Society, 800-1500

Derek Nurse and Thomas Spear

160 pages | 6 x 9 | 17 illus.
Paper 1985 | ISBN 9780812212075 | $26.50s | Outside the Americas £19.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Ethnohistory Series
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"The authors, respectively a linguist specializing in Swahili and related Bantu languages and a historian specializing in the history of East Africa, have assembled an impressive array of evidence—linguistic, archaeological, documentary, and oral-traditional—in support of the argument that Swahili culture, often regarded as an Arabian transplant on the East African coast, is actually 'a dynamic synthesis of African and Arabian ideas within an African historical and cultural context.'"—American Anthropologist

"A fine achievement, mixing original material, fresh insights, generally excellent use of sources, conciseness, and a highly readable style. As an introduction to how the history of an African society can be reconstructed from largely nonliterate sources, and to the Swahili in particular, it is almost a model work."—International Journal of African Historical Studies

Derek Nurse is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Thomas Spear is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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