Languages newly identified or rediscovered: Gbin, Zialo

One of the routine duties for catalogers of African materials is to review authority files on subject headings through participation in the SACO (Subject Authority COoperative) funnel, researching reference materials to decide whether there is warrant to revise an existing heading or establish a new one.

In the case of subject headings for languages, this ideally occurs in tandem with proposals to the classification schedule, such that a call number value assigned in the  053 for the authority heading for a language will likewise be proposed in ClassWeb.

Occasionally, it happens that the references themselves are being updated to reflect results from current field research.  This is the case recently with two Mande languages:  Gbin and Zialo, studied and re-analyzed by Denis Paperno and Kirill Babaev, respectively.  Gbin, now extinct, was documented by Maurice Delafosse but, until now, has been accounted for only as a cross-reference for the Beng language, and did not have an individual language code assigned to it in Ethnologue.  That will change soon.  Zialo was considered to have been a peripheral dialect of Loma, but Babaev’s work shows it to have lexical and morphological characteristics that are closer to Bandi and Mende.  It received a new code, zil, in ISO 639-3 after the most recent print version of the Ethnologue (16th, 2009) was published, and has had an authority record in LCSH since 2011.

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