Inadvertently, African languages have been neglected by many of those performing research in the field of linguistics. In an attempt to expand and diversify the research base of African languages, a handful of linguists have begun to focus their attention on lesser-known languages.
A Grammar of Lele is the first book ever written on Lele, an endangered language spoken in the Republic of Chad. The language belongs to the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family, whose other members are Semitic, Egyptian, Cushitic, Omotic, and Berber. This book explores the use of vowel harmony as a means of coding categories of morphemes. Suffixes undergo vowel harmony rules; clitics do not, and must occur in specified contexts; free morphemes, which also do not undergo vowel harmony rules, have relatively free distribution. The language has also an intriguing reference system, complex sentence structures, and the coding of backgrounding. The study of these and other categories and structures not encountered in the more familiar Indo-European languages will appeal to lovers of languages and linguistics.
Zygmunt Frajzyngier, professor of linguistics at University of Colorado, has published grammars and dictionaries of several African languages, and comparative studies in African linguistics. He has also published numerous theoretical articals in journals and collected volumes on linguistics.