Native toSudan
Native speakers
67,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tbi

Gaam (Gaahmg), also known as Ingessana, (Me/Mun)Tabi, Kamanidi, or Mamedja/Mamidza, is an Eastern Sudanic language spoken by the Ingessana people in the Tabi Hills in eastern Sudan, near Ethiopia. It was considered an isolate within Eastern Sudanic until the other Eastern Jebel languages were discovered in the late 20th century. Dialects are Soda (Tao), Kukur (Gor), Kulang (Kulelek, Bau), Buwahg (Buek).

An early record of this language is a short wordlist dated February 1883 by Juan Maria Schuver. His informant came from the east side of the Tabi Hills, but was hard to understand because he was chewing tobacco.[2] the people of Ingassana called them selves as generally gaamak which means all Engassna hill people and the word Ingassana many people think it comes from Arabic words which means saperate as elder said they saperate from Nubian mountains people. the people of Ingassana are clarified in to five groups 1: Jack Taw which means people of TAW hill 2: Jack gor which means people of JOR HILL 3: Bawak which means people of Bawak hill and bawak peoples famous by chill called Shata Gabanit which means chill of gabanit people they plants chill in they hill which is hard taste of all chilly in the world . 4: Kolak which means people of Kolak hill 5:-Jack mak which means people of mak hill. they ruling system categories in to tree the upper class,middle class and lowest class. the upper class called Canik . the middle-class called aWarik. lowest class called gafank/elders families. they can settle they dispute through process from lowest class to middle and the suppers court is Canik they can decide the last decision not one can break it.



There are 21 distinct consonant phonemes. The fricative, nasal, lateral and rhotic consonants also distinguish length.

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plosives p b t d c ɟ k ɡ
Fricatives f, fː s, sː
Nasals m, mː n, nː ɲ, ɲː ŋ, ŋː
Laterals l, lː
Rhotics r, rː
Approximants w ð y


There are six distinct vowel phonemes. All six can also occur in sequential (and thus lengthened) form but may change phonetic quality. Stirtz (2012)[4] proposes the following system:

[-round] [+round]
[-back] [+back]
[+ATR] i ə u
[-ATR] ɛ a ɔ


Gaam is a tonal language. There are three level tones, High, Mid and Low, which can be combined to form rising and falling tones. A total of nine tone melodies is possible, all of them contrastive.


  1. ^ Gaam at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Wendy James, et al., Juan Maria Schuver's Travels in North East Africa, 1880-1883 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1996), pp. 344-446
  3. ^ Stirtz (2012:21)
  4. ^ Stirtz (2012:33)


  • Stirtz, Timothy (2004). "Phonology and orthography in Gaahmg". Occasional Papers in the Study of Sudanese Languages. 9: 127–144.
  • Stirtz, Timothy (2012). A grammar of Gaahmg, a Nilo-Saharan language of Sudan (Ph.D. thesis). Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden. hdl:1887/18452. ISBN 978-94-6093-078-2.