The Nubian language group, according to the most recent research by Bechhaus-Gerst comprises the following varieties:
Nobiin (previously called Mahas or Fadicca/Fiadicca).
Dongolawi and Kenzi. Kenzi is spoken north of Mahas in Egypt while Dongolawi is spoken south of Mahas around Dongola. With population displacement due to the Aswan High Dam there are communities of Nubian speakers in Lower Egypt and in Eastern Sudan (Khashm el-Girba). Apart from these two distinct varieties spoken along the Nile, three other varieties existed.
Midob in and around the Malha volcanic crater in North Darfur.
Birgid - originally spoken north of Nyala around Menawashei until the 1970s. The last surviving aged speakers were interviewed by Thelwall at this time. And some equally aged speakers on Gezira Aba just north of Kosti on the Nile south of Khartoum and interviewed by Thelwall in 1980.
Hill Nubian - a group of closely related dialects spoken in various villages in the northern Nuba Mountains - in particular Dilling, Debri, and Kadaru.
Old Nubian is preserved in at least a hundred pages of documents, mostly of a Christian religious nature, written with a uncial variety of the Greek alphabet, extended with three Coptic letters and three unique to Old Nubian, apparently derived from Meroitic. These documents range in date from the 8th to the 15th centuryA.D.. Old Nubian is currently considered ancestral to modern Nobiin.
Nubian is considered to be a subfamily within Eastern Sudanic, and ultimately within Nilo-Saharan.
There are three currently active proposals for the script of Nubian: Arabic alphabet, Latin alphabet, and Old Nubian alphabet. Since the 1950's, Latin has been used by 4 authors, Arabic by 2, and Old Nubian by 1, in the publication of various books of proverbs, dictionaries, and textbooks. For Arabic, the extended SESCO system may be used to indicate vowels and consonants not found in Arabic itself.
Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne (1989) 'Nile-Nubian Reconsidered', in M. Lionel Bender (ed.), Topics in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics, Hamburg: Heinrich Buske.
Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne (1996) Sprachwandel durch Sprachkontakt am Beispiel des Nubischen im Niltal. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen einer diachronen Soziolinguistik. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Jakobi, Angelika & Tanja Kummerle (1993) The Nubian Languages. A Annotated Bibliography. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Asmaa M. I. Ahmed, "Suggestions for Writing Modern Nubian Languages", and Muhammad J. A. Hashim, "Competing Orthographies for Writing Nobiin Nubian", in Occasional Papers in the Study of Sudanese Languages No. 9, SIL/Sudan, Entebbe 2004.
Categories: Nubia | Nubian languages | Languages of Sudan
Old Nubian is preserved in at least a hundred pages of documents, mostly of a Christian religious nature, written with a uncial variety of the Greek alphabet, extended with three Coptic letters and three unique to Old Nubian, apparently derived from Meroitic.
Languages of the Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic family are spoken by a substantial portion of the population in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; by scattered groups elsewhere in North Africa; and along the southern fringes of the Sahara Desert in western Africa.
The Nubian alphabet was derived from that of the Copticlanguage.
Languages spoken farther to the south-east, including Maasai in Kenya, have long been called Nilo-Hamitic; recent investigations, however, appear to prove that these tongues have no direct relationship to languages of the Afro-Asiatic family, but are most closely related to the Nilotic languages.
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