The Nilotic languages are a group of related languages spoken across a wide area between South Sudan and Tanzania by the Nilotic peoples.


The word Nilotic means of or relating to the Nile River or to the Nile region of Africa.


Nilotic peoples, who are the native speakers of the languages, originally migrated from the Gezira area in Sudan. Nilotic language speakers live in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.


According to linguist Joseph Greenberg, the language family is divided up into three subgroups: *Eastern Nilotic languages such as Turkana and Maasai *Southern Nilotic languages such as Kalenjin and Datooga *Western Nilotic languages such as Luo, Nuer and Dinka Before Greenberg's reclassification, Nilotic was used to refer to Western Nilotic alone, with the other two being grouped as related "Nilo-Hamitic" languages. Blench (2012) treats the Burun languages as a fourth subgroup of Nilotic. In previous classifications, the languages were included within the Luo languages. Starostin (2015) treats the Mabaan-Burun languages as "West Nilotic" but outside the Luo level.


Over 200 Proto-Nilotic lexical roots have been reconstructed by Dimmendaal (1988).Dimmendaal, Gerrit Jan. 1988. "The lexical reconstruction of proto-Nilotic: a first reconnaissance." ''Afrikanistische ''(AAP) 16: 5-67. Dimmendaal reconstructs the proto Nilotic consonants as follows:


Comparison of numerals in individual languages:

See also

*Nilotic peoples *Paranilotic languages *Nilo-Saharan languages *Kir–Abbaian languages *List of Proto-Nilotic reconstructions (Wiktionary)



External links

Michael Cysouw

Doris Payne {{Authority control Category:Language families Category:Southern Eastern Sudanic languages Category:Languages of Ethiopia Category:Languages of Sudan Category:Languages of South Sudan Category:Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Category:Languages of Uganda Category:Languages of Kenya Category:Languages of Tanzania