Nuer language

Native to South Sudan, Ethiopia
Region Upper Nile state, Gambela Region
Ethnicity Nuer
Native speakers
(890,000 cited 1982–2007)[1]
  • Thiang
  • Western Jikany
  • Eastern Jikany
  • Nyuong
  • Door
  • Lou
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nus
Glottolog nuer1246[2]

The Nuer language (Naath)[3] is a Nilo-Saharan language of the Western Nilotic group. It is spoken by the Nuer people of South Sudan and in western Ethiopia (region of Gambela). Nuer is one of eastern and central Africa's most widely spoken languages, along with the Dinka language. The language is very similar to the languages of Jieng and Chollo.[4]

Nuer language has a Latin-based alphabet. There are also several dialects of Nuer, although all have one written standard. For example, final /k/ is pronounced in the Jikany dialect, but is dropped in other dialects despite being indicated in Nuer orthography.

Nuer communities

There are different dialects spoken by Nuer groups living in various locations in South Sudan. Some of the Nuer people live in Western Ethiopia. They are called Gajaak, Gajiok, and Lou. The Nuer of the Nasir region are called Gajiok, and those in Waat are called Lou. There are also Gaweer and Jikueichieng. In Gajaak there is Chie Chaany, Chie Reang, Chie Waw, Chie Nyinjani, and Thiang.

Nuer-speaking Sudanese refugees have formed a significant community in Omaha, Nebraska, United States

There are also seven counties inhabited by the others groups of Nuer in the western part of the Upper Nile state. These are the counties of:

Sample phrases

Nuer:  Naath dial diethɛ kɛ a lɔr kä päärkɛ kɛ ciaŋ malä a mäni cuŋkiɛn. Tekɛ kɛ ca̱r kɛnɛ nhök ti de lät kɛ raan kɛ dämaan a gɔa.

English:  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)[5]

Writing system of Nuer

The alphabet of Nuer uses 39 distinct letters, shown below in capitals and lowercase styles. Or majuscules and minuscules[6]

A Ä B C D Dh E Ë Ɛ Ɛ̱ Ɛ̈ G Ɣ H I J
K L M N Ŋ Nh Ny O Ö Ɔ Ɔ̱ P R T Th U W Y
a ä b c d dh e ë ɛ ɛ̱ ɛ̈ g ɣ h i j
k l m n ŋ nh ny o ö ɔ ɔ̱ p r t th u w y

The Nuer Language uses a modified version of Latin script for their Written language. The writing system was adopted in 1928 with minor changes being added over the history of the language.[7] Both the Dinka and the Nuer agreed that their languages were so different that they could never share written languages, so they came up with a common one following these principles.[8]

Language families

The Nuer language belongs to the following language families, going from smallest to largest.

See also


  1. Nuer at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Nuer". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "WALS Online -Language Nuer". Retrieved 2016-10-29.
  4. Trust, Gurtong. "Nuer (Naath)". Retrieved 2016-10-29.
  5. "Nuer language and pronunciation". Retrieved 2016-10-29.
  6. Hutchinson, 1996, pp. xv-xvii
  7. "Nuer (Naadh)". Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  8. Miner, Edward. "The development of Nuer Linguistics". Retrieved 29 October 2016.

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.