An original Niger-Congo homeland in the general vicinity of the upper Nile valley is probably as good a hypothesis as any. From such a homeland, a westward Mande migration may have begun well over 5000 years ago. Perhaps the earliest division within this group resulted in the isolation of what is now represented only by Bobo-fing.
Somewhat later— perhaps 3500 to 4500 years ago, and possibly from a new homeland around northern Dahomey [now Benin]— the ancestors of the present Northern-western Mande peoples began pushing farther west, ultimately reaching their present homeland in the grasslands and forests of West Africa.
This was followed by a gradual spread of the Southern-Eastern division, culminating perhaps 2000 years ago in the separation of its to branches and the ultimate movement of Southern Mande peoples southeast and westward until Mano and Kpelle, long separated, became once more contiguous. (pp. 119-120) (emphasis mine).
We have to remember that the Greek historian informs us what the Egyptians told him directly concerning their origins and customs. We are told by Diodorus that: They say also that the Egyptians are colonists sent out by the Ethiopians, Osiris having been the leader of the colony…And the larger part of the customs of the Egyptians are, they hold
Ethiopian, the colonists still preserving their ancient manners. For instance, the belief that their kings are gods, the very special attention which they pay to their burials, and many other matters of a similar nature are Ethiopian practices, while the shapes of their statues and the forms of their letters are Ethiopian; for of the two kinds of writing which the Egyptians have, that which is known as "popular" (demotic) is learned by everyone, while that which is called "sacred" is understood only by the priests of the Egyptians, who learn it from their fathers as one of the things which are not divulged, but among the Ethiopians everyone uses these forms of letters.
Furthermore, the orders of the priests, they maintain, have much the same position among both peoples; for all are clean who are engaged in the service of the gods, keeping themselves shaven, like the Ethiopian priests, and having the same dress and form of staff, which is shaped like a plough and is carried by their kings, who wear high felt hats which end in a knob at the top and are circled by the serpents which they call asps; and this symbol appears to carry the thought that it will be the lot of those who shall dare to attack the king to encounter death-carrying stings.
Many other things are also told by them concerning their own antiquity and the colony which they sent out that became the Egyptians, but about this there is no special need of our writing anything.
In other words, the Egyptian culture is the Kushite culture (Ethiopian) of Chad/Sudan as acknowledged by the Egyptians themselves. Even Champollion, the decipherer of the hieroglyphs, understood this point
This would explain why the Kongo-Saharan symbols, along with the words to go with them, became the foundational symbols of the emerging Egyptian language. There are many theses concerning the origins of the Niger-Congo language family with many having them originate west of Lake Chad.
I find many of these theories untenable for reasons beyond the scope of our current discourse. But even if we did accept that hypothesis, one couldn‘t deny the fact that Niger-Congo (and Proto-Bantu) speakers were in the Nile Valley as evidenced by the Sumerian data. The Sumerian language has been proven, by way of the comparative method, to be a Niger-Congo language.
Four principle works help to establish this fact: W. Wanger, Comparative Lexical Study of Sumerian and Ntu (“Bantu”): The Sumerian Sanscrit of the African Ntu Languages (1935); Robin Walker, When We Ruled (2006); GJK Campbell-Dunn Sumerian Comparative Dictionary & Sumerian Comparative Grammar (2009); and Hermel Hermstein Black Sumer: The African Origins of Civilization (2012). Hermstein (2012: 85-98) posits an eastern migration of Niger-Congo (Proto-Bantu) speakers, originating from Lake Chad, passing through the Sudan, settling in Somalia, then working their way up to present-day Iraq.
Campbell-Dunn (2009a: 43, 151), on the other hand, posits a Congo origin with the Proto-Sumerians traveling through East Africa into Arabia and migrating further north.
Lake Chad and the Congo are essentially the same area, only separated by forests. In both scenarios they had to travel east and cross over the Nile to get to Arabia/Mesopotamia.
In traveling they settled in Sudan where the origins of Egyptian pharaonic culture ultimately lies (although I would add elements from the Western and Eastern African deserts as well). As noted by Diop (1974: 169), in regards to the beginning of the mdw nTr script:
As early As early as 4000 BC Egyptian documents indicate that the Merotic Sudan was a prosperous country which maintained commercial ties with Egypt.
Gold was plentiful. About that time the Meroitic Sudan probably transmitted to Egypt the twelve hieroglyphs that were the first embryonic alphabet.
The idea that the hieroglyphs originated with Kongo-Saharan speakers is also one shared by Campbell-Dunn.
His commentary on the subject is very informative, not only on the development of the script among the Egyptians, but also on how to approach the phonology of the symbols as well.
He goes on to inform us that: Egyptian Hieroglyphics (attested from c 3250 BC) uses many (about 900) recognisable pictographs and combines ideographic and phonetic notation, but not in the same way as Sumerian.
Determinatives and partial phonetic indications (old prefixes, suffixes ?) are added to clarify the core word.
Hieroglyphics incorporates a consonantary, however, not a syllabary (standard interpretation).
I suspect the consonantary arose through applying a syllabic script designed for a language with few vowels to a foreign tongue with a vowel system that did not match.
The Egyptian method of writing 3 vowels by using consonantal symbols implies reduction of wu to u, yi to i etc.
This kind of change is typical of Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan.
The Egyptian practice of attaching a snake to the SUN sign shows that Hieroglyphics were once used to write a Niger-Congo language in which the “snake” and the “sun” were denoted by the same word,12 such as ra, da.
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