Native toSudan
RegionNile River
Native speakers
35,000 (2023)[1]
Coptic script (Old Nubian variant)
Latin alphabet
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3dgl

Dongolawi is a Nubian language of northern Sudan. It is spoken by a minority of the Danagla people in the Nile Valley, from roughly (south of Kerma) upstream to the bend in the Nile near ed Debba. Dongolawi is an Arabic term based on the town of Old Dongola, the centre of the historic Christian kingdom of Makuria (6th to 14th century). Today's Dongola was founded during the 19th century on the western side of the Nile. The Dongolawi call their language Andaandi [andaːndi] "the language of our home".

Nearly all Dongolawi speakers are also speakers of Sudanese Arabic, the lingua franca of Sudan. Arabic–Dongolawi bilingualism is replacive in the sense that Dongolawi is threatened by complete replacement by Arabic (Jakobi 2008).

Dongolawi is closely related to Kenzi (Mattokki), spoken in southern Egypt. They were once considered dialects of a single language, Kenzi-Dongolawi. More recent research recognises them as distinct languages without a "particularly close genetic relationship."[2] Apart from these two languages spoken along the Nile, three extinct varieties were included under Kenzi-Dongolawi.[citation needed]


1. "Wada" - Hello

2. "Kajen" - How are you?

3. "Nyal" - Water

4. "Gat" - House

5. "Kori" - Food

6. "Kolo" - Good

7. "Nefe" - Thank you

8. "Bila" - Yes

9. "La" - No

10. "Jena" - Love


  1. ^ Dongolawi at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne. The (Hi)story of Nobiin — 1000 Years of Language Change. Peter Lang, 2011, p. 22.

Further reading