Eastern Sudanic
(disputed)
Geographic
distribution
Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Linguistic classificationNilo-Saharan?
  • Eastern Sudanic
Subdivisions
ISO 639-5sdv
GlottologNone
Eastern Sudanic languages:
* Group k (orange)
* Group n (yellow)

In most classifications, the Eastern Sudanic languages are a group of nine families of languages that may constitute a branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family. Eastern Sudanic languages are spoken from southern Egypt to northern Tanzania.

Nubian (and possibly Meroitic) gives Eastern Sudanic some of the earliest written attestations of African languages. However, the largest branch by far is Nilotic, spread by extensive and comparatively recent conquests throughout East Africa. Before the spread of Nilotic, Eastern Sudanic was centered in present-day Sudan. The name "East Sudanic" refers to the eastern part of the region of Sudan where the country of Sudan is located, and contrasts with Central Sudanic and Western Sudanic (modern Mande, in the Niger–Congo family).

Lionel Bender (1980) proposes several Eastern Sudanic isoglosses (defining words), such as *kutuk "mouth", *(ko)TVS-(Vg) "three", and *ku-lug-ut or *kVl(t) "fish".

In older classifications, such as that of Meinhof (1911), the term was used for the eastern Sudanic languages, largely equivalent to modern Nilo-Saharan sans Nilotic, which is the largest constituent of modern Eastern Sudanic.

Güldemann (2018) considers East Sudanic to be undemonstrated at the current state of research. He only accepts the evidence for a connection between the Nilotic and Surmic languages as "robust", while he states that Rilly's evidence (see below) for the northern group comprising Nubian, Nara, Nyima, Taman and Meroitic "certainly look[s] promising".[1] Glottolog (2023) does not accept even a Surmic–Nilotic relationship.

Internal classification

There are several different classifications of East Sudanic languages.

Bender (2000)

Lionel Bender assigns the languages into two branches, depending on whether the 1sg pronoun ("I") has a /k/ or an /n/:

Eastern 
Sudanic 
Northern
 (k languages) 

Nubian

Nara

Nyima

Taman

Southern
 (n languages) 

Surmic

Eastern Jebel

Temein (Nuba Hills)

Daju

Nilotic

Rilly (2009)

Claude Rilly (2009:2)[2] provides the following internal structure for the Eastern Sudanic languages.

Eastern 
Sudanic 
Northern 
Eastern Sudanic

Nyima

Taman

Nara

Meroitic

Nubian

Nilotic

Surmic

Jebel

Temein

Daju

Starostin (2015)

Starostin, using lexicostatistics, finds strong support for Bender's Northern branch, but none for the Southern branch.[3] Eastern Sudanic as a whole is rated a probable working model, pending proper comparative work, while the relationship between Nubian, Tama, and Nara is beyond reasonable doubt.

Eastern 
Sudanic 
NNT

Nubian

Nara

Taman

? Nyima

? Surmic

? Jebel

? Temein

? Daju

? Nilotic

Nyima is not part of the northern group, though it appears to be closest to it. (For one thing, its pronouns align well with the northern (Astaboran) branches.) Surmic, Nilotic, and Temein share a number of similarities, including in their pronouns, but not enough to warrant classifying them together in opposition to Astaboran without proper comparative work. Jebel and Daju also share many similarities with Surma and Nilotic, though their pronominal systems are closer to Astaboran.

Inclusion of Kuliak and Berta is not supported. Similarities with Kuliak may be due to both being Nilo-Saharan families, whereas Berta and Jebel form a sprachbund.

A similar classification was given in Starostin (2014):[4]

Blench (2019, 2021)

Roger Blench (2019)[5]: 18  and (2021),[6] like Starostin, only finds support for Bender's Northern branch. Blench proposes the following internal structure, supported by morphological evidence.

East 
Sudanic 

Nilotic

Surmic

Eastern Jebel

Daju

Temein

Northeast Sudanic 

Nubian

Nara

Taman

Ama

Dimmendaal & Jakobi (< 2020)

Dimmendaal & Jakobi (2020:394),[7] published in 2020 but written some times earlier, retains Bender's Southern branch; they also accept Berta:

Eastern 
Sudanic 
Northern

Taman

Meroitic

Nubian

Nara

Nyima

Southern

Berta

Jebel

Daju

Temeinian

Surmic

Nilotic

Numerals

Comparison of numerals in individual languages (excluding Nilotic and Surmic languages):[8]

Classification Language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Nara Nara (Nera) dōkkūū àriɡáà sāāná ʃōōná wiita dáátà jāāriɡáà (5+ 2)  ? dèssèná (5+ 3) ? lùfūttá-màdāā (10–1)  ? lùfūk
Nubian, Western Midob Nubian pàrci ə̀ddí táasí èejí téccí kórcí òlòttì ídíyí úkúdí / úfúdí tímmíjí
Nubian, Northern Nobiin (1) weː˥r u˥wwo˥ tu˥sko˥ ke˥mso˥ di˧dʒ ɡo˥rdʒo˥ ko˧lo˧d i˥dwo˥ o˧sko˧d di˥me˥
Nubian, Northern Nobiin (2) wèer/ wéer úwwó túskú / tískó kémsó dìj / dìjì ɡórjó kòlòd ídwó òskòd / òskòdi dímé
Nubian, Central, Hill, Kadaru-Ghulfan Kadaru bèè òró tèɟɟúk kèɲɟú tìccʊ́ kɔ́rʃʊ́ kɔ́ladʊ́ ɪ̀d̪d̪ɔ́ wìɪd̪ɔ́ bùɽè
Nubian, Central, Hill, Kadaru-Ghulfan Ghulfan bɛr óra tóǰuk kɪ́ɲu ʈiʃú kwúrʃu kwalát ɪ́ddu wìít buɽé
Nubian, Central, Hill, Unclassified Dilling bee oree tujjuŋ j = dʒ or ɟ ? kimmiɲi ticci c = tʃ or c ? kʷarcu kʷalad ɪddɪ wit bure
Nyimang Afitti àndá àrmák àcúp kòrsík múl màndár màrám dùvá àdìsól òtúmbùrà
Nyimang Ama (Nyimang) ɲálā ārbā āsá kùd̪ò mūl kūrʃ kūlād̪ èd̪ò wìèd̪ò fòɽó
Tama, Mararit Mararit (Mararet) kára~kún / karre warɪ / warre ètte~ítí / ataye kow / ɡaw máai / maye túur / tuur kul / kuuri kàkàwák / kokuak (4+ 4) kàrkʌ́s / kekeris tók / toɡ
Tama, Tama-Sungor Sungor (Assangori) kur wári écà kús mási tɔ̀r kál kíbís úkù mɛ̀r
Tama, Tama-Sungor Tama (1) kúˑr wárí íɕí kús /kus massi / masi tɔˑ́r kâl kímís úkū mír
Tama, Tama-Sungor Tama (2) kʊ́rʊ́ wɛ̀rːɛ̀ ɪ̀cːáʔ kʊʃ masɛː t̪ɔ́rː kəl kíbìs ʊ́kːʊ́ mɛ̀ːr
Daju, Eastern Daju Liguri Daju (Logorik) nɔhɔrɔk pɛtdax kɔdɔs tɛspɛt mdɛk kɔskɔdɔs (2 x 3) tɛspɛtkɔdɔs (4 + 3) tɛspɛttɛspɛt (4 + 4) mdɛktɛspɛt (5 + 4) saʔasɛɲ
Daju, Eastern Daju Shatt Damam núuxù pɨ̀dàx kòdòs tèspèt mɨ̀dɨ̀k áaràn pàxtíndìɲ kòs(s)èndàŋ tèspédèspè {four.four} dábàs(s)éndàŋ ~bây.núuxù àsìɲ
Daju, Western Daju Dar Dadju Daju mùnɡún fìdà /pîda kòdɔ̀s tɛ̀spɛ̀t mòdùk àràŋ fàktíndí kòsóndá bìstóndá àsíŋ
Daju, Western Daju Dar Sila Daju (1) ùŋɡʊ̀n bìdàk kòdòs tìʃɛ̀t mùdùk (ʔ)àràn ~ (ʔ)àrân fáktíndì kòohándà bìstándà àsîŋ
Daju, Western Daju Dar Sila Daju (2) ʊ́ŋɡʊ́n bíd̪ák kɔ̀d̪ɔs t̪ɪ̀ʃɛ́ːθ múd̪uk árān̪ fáθɪ́nd̪ɪ́ kɔ̀ánd̪a bɪ̀sθánd̪a ásːɪŋ
Eastern Jebel, Gaam Gaahmɡ (Tabi) (1) t̪āmán d̪áāɡɡ ɔ́ðɔ̄ yə̄ə̄sə́ áás-ááman (lit: 'hand') t̪ə́ld̪ìɡɡ íd̪iɡɡ-ɔ́ðɔ̄ (lit: 'eyes-two') íd̪iɡ-dáāɡɡ (lit: 'eyes-three') íd̪iɡ-yə̄ə̄sə́ (lit: 'eyes-four') ə́sēɡ-dí (lit: 'hands-also')
Eastern Jebel, Gaam Gaahmɡ (Tabi) (2) taman diɔk / diak oða / ʔoda yɛsu /yɛzan ʌsumʌn tɛltɛk /tɛldɛk tauðuk / idakʼdiak (5 + 2) kurbaiti /idukʼʔoda (5 + 3) akaitɛn / idukʼyɛsu (5 + 4) ʔasiɡdi

References

  1. ^ Güldemann, Tom (2018). "Historical linguistics and genealogical language classification in Africa". In Güldemann, Tom (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of Africa. The World of Linguistics series. Vol. 11. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 299–308. doi:10.1515/9783110421668-002. ISBN 978-3-11-042606-9. S2CID 133888593.
  2. ^ Rilly, Claude. 2009. From the Yellow Nile to the Blue Nile: The quest for water and the diffusion of Northern East Sudanic languages from the fourth to the first millennia BCE. Paper presented at ECAS 2009 (3rd European Conference on African Studies, Panel 142: African waters – water in Africa, barriers, paths, and resources: their impact on language, literature and history of people) in Leipzig, 4 to 7 June 2009.
  3. ^ George Starostin (2015) The Eastern Sudanic hypothesis tested through lexicostatistics: current state of affairs (Draft 1.0)
  4. ^ Starostin, Georgiy C. 2014. Языки Африки. Опыт построения лексикостатистической классификации. Т. 2: Восточносуданские языки / Languages of Africa: an attempt at a lexicostatistical classification. Volume 2: Eastern Sudanic languages. Moscow: Языки славянской культуры / LRC Press. 736 p.
  5. ^ Blench, Roger. 2019. Morphological evidence for the coherence of East Sudanic. Paper submitted for a Special Issue of Dotawo. Also presented at the 14th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ Blench, Roger. 2023. In defence of Nilo-Saharan.
  7. ^ Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. and Angelika Jakobi. 2020. Eastern Sudanic. In: Vossen, Rainer and Gerrit J. Dimmendaal (eds.). 2020. The Oxford Handbook of African Languages, 392–407. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ Chan, Eugene (2019). "The Nilo-Saharan Language Phylum". Numeral Systems of the World's Languages.

Bibliography