More on Arda

April 28, 2008

Mark Dingemanse just wrote a nice post over at The Ideophone, fleshing out some of the linguistic and historical facts surrounding ‘Arda’. Among other things, he points the reader to the Wikipedia Gbe languages page, which he authored, which identifies ‘Arda’ as the language now known as Gen. This page includes a scan of one of the pages of de Nájera’s work, in case you are interested, and gives a nice overview of the major features of the languages of this family.

8 Responses to “More on Arda”


  1. Now that’s a good piece of interblog collaboration don’t you think? You know, even though I knew the 1658 Doctrina Christiana and the correct identification of the Arda language, I didn’t actually know about the double life of Arda until I read your post yesterday. Stellar literature research!

  2. Lev Michael Says:

    Nice collaboration indeed, Mark. Oh, so you didn’t know about Arda being formerly misidentified? It would be fun some day, if one could find more examples like the Arda one, to do an article describing linguistics ‘greatest misses’ ;).


  3. I guess I went right to the Doctrina Christiana itself when I got hold of Labouret & Rivet 1929, skipping the intro where they (as I saw yesterday) describe the Amazonian double-life of Arda.

  4. Lev Michael Says:

    Actually, I have never seen the Labouret and Rivet piece myself, just a brief review of it that I managed to find on-line. I’d be interested in having a look one day…

  5. Simeon Says:

    Hey Lev,
    When I took field methods with Tony he was in his African languages phase so he would send out e-mails to incoming African students to see if anyone spoke a weird language and wanted a 10-hour-a-week job getting asked annoying questions by linguists. My year our consultant was Crystel, a very cool student from Togo, and a speaker of Gen Gbe, otherwise known as Mina, apparently otherwise known as Arda. It is a pretty fun language, I remember kind of singing the tones. Odd coincidence; I did not realize we were studying a pseudo-Amazonian language.


  6. Lev, I’ll try to scan part of it (it is rather voluminous) and send it to you.

  7. Lev Michael Says:

    Hi Simeon,

    Yeah, that’s a wild coincidence. One of us will have to tell Tony some day.

  8. Lev Michael Says:

    Hi Mark,

    That would be great. Honestly, the part that interests me is their account of the erroneous Amazonian identification, which I hope would be fairly brief. I’m curious to what degree the story they give of the error lines up with the one I presented. But please don’t go to too much trouble.


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