Kadaru
Kodhin
Native toSudan
RegionNuba Mountains
EthnicityKadaru people
Native speakers
25,000 (2013)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kdu
Glottologkada1282
ELPKadaru
Kadaru is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Kadaru (also Kadaro, Kadero, Kaderu, Kodhin, Kodhinniai, Kodoro, Tamya) is a Hill Nubian language spoken in the northern Nuba Mountains in the south of Sudan.[2] It is spoken by around 25,000 people in the Jibaal as-Sitta (Mountains of the Six)[3] hills, between Dilling and Delami. Kordofan Nubian is a cluster of dialects also called Ajang Language with names of dialects varying according to specific clans.[3] According to Ajang people, they all belong to one language group and although some sounds and words might have changed with time, they can understand each other quite well.[4] It is closely related to Ghulfan, with which it forms the Kadaru-Ghulfan subgroup of Hill Nubian.

In the Middle Ages Nubian language was used as lingua franca of the Sudan and was used in writing, commerce and by the government.[5] According to Ali Obeid Birema, Kadero should be considered as a diminishing language caused by the influence of Arabic and the ever-decreasing number of speakers.[5]

Dialects

Ethnologue reports that there are six dialects spoken by six clan groups living on six separate hills: Kadaru (Kodur), Kururu (Tagle), Kafir (Ka’e), Kurtala (Ngokra), Dabatna (Kaaral) and Kuldaji (Kendal). The Western form used by the Berko people at Habila (southwest of Jebel Sitta, neighbouring the Ghulfan) may be another dialect or a separate language.[6] Since Kadaru per se is understudied, many articles on Ajang Language use examples from various dialects, based on the fact that these are closely related dialects.[3]

Phonology

Consonants

There are 22 consonants in Kadaru, with voiced and voiceless plosives in five places of articulation. “There is only one fricative /ʃ/ which we assign to the palatal column. There are three alveolar liquids – a lateral, a trill, and a flap – and there are two central approximants.”.[3]

Consonants chart[3]
labial dental coronal palatal velar
vl plosives p t (tʷ) c k (kʷ)
vd plosives b d ɟ g
fricatives ʃ
nasals m n ɲ ŋ
lateral l
trill r
flap ɽ
approximants w j

Consonants' distribution

When it comes to the distribution, only 10 consonants were found in all the positions (initial, intervocalic and final). As seen in the table labial dental and velar consonants appear on the initial position only voiceless. The situation changes, however, in the final position where only labial and velar consonants appear, both voiceless. Contrary to Sudanese Arabic, Kadaru-Kurtala labial plosives are voiceless in the final position of the word.

ɪ́p “tail”

ʃap “giraffe”

kɔ́p “lion”

nɔ́p “gold” tɔ́p “earth”[3]

Distribution chart[3]
phon initial intervocalic final
(p) - - kɔp lion
b bʊ́l dog àbʊ́l mouth -
t̪uríɲ locust jat̪ʊ goat ít̪ person
(d̪) - bid̪id̪ bat bid̪id̪ bat
t tidəm ostrich titim dove ʃʊ́t thread
d doː skin dɛdʊ cloud ʃúd sand
(tw) tʷanʊ bellies - -
(c) caŋ python - -

Consonant contrast

Since the language lacks minimal pairs, the following table shows pairs in which the two consonants are in minimal contrast in the syllable in which they occur.[3]

Contrast chart[3]
p-b - -
b-m abʊl mouth ɔmʊl elephant
b-w bara yellow wata ash
m-w mɛɲ back wɛŋɡa that
t̪-d̪ (ít person bid̪id̪ bat)
t̪-t (t̪uɾíɲ locust titim dove)
d̪-d ʊd̪ʊ breast dɛdʊ cloud
t-tw taɽʊm tortoise tʷanʊ bellies
t-d tɛɲʊ thigh dɛdʊ cloud
katʊ field dɛdʊ cloud
ʃʊ́t thread ʃúd sand
d-n dʊl larynx nʊm throne
d-l (dɛdʊ cloud bɛlɛ sesame)
n-l (ɛnɛn mother bɛlɛ sesame)
l-r kɛlɪ food ɛrɪ rope
l-ɽ ʃalɛ salt taɽɛ plate
r-ɽ (ɪrɪɲ nose kɪ̀ɽáŋ drum)
c-ɟ (caŋ python ɟadʊ tongue)

Consonant sequences

Consonant sequences in Kadaru are considered relatively free, even including a sequence of two plosive consonants. The table below shows that the range of consonant sequences in Kadaru is bigger than in, for example, Uncu, a different Ghulfan language closely related to Kadaru.

Chart[3]
Kadaru-Kurtala Uncu
nt̪ nɔnt̪ʊ moon nt̪ t̪ɛ̀nt̪ʊ intestines
nd̪ ɟʊ́nd̪ʊ small nd̪ kánd̪ɛ̀t̪ʊ bird
nt kúntú knee nt ɔ̀ntʊ́ arm
nd kʊnda smoke nd arɛndʊ́wa sky
ɲɟ kʊɲɟaŋ lyre ɲɟ tɔɲɟɔ thigh
ŋɡ ɔŋɡɔl road
mt kʊmtɛ (woman's name)
ɲd akiɲdʊ adze
ld̪ eld̪o heart ld̪ ábʊld̪ɛ adze
lt káltʊ́ eye lt káltʊ̀ eye
kʊlɖaɟɪ (clan name)
ʊlɕa ear ʊlca ear
lm ʃalmɛ chin
rb t̪arbʊ twenty rb t̪àrbɔ twenty
rt̪ kɔrt̪ʊ shoe rt̪ ɔrt̪ɪ sheep
rt wərtíl sheep rt àmʊrtɛ̂ palm
rd̪ kɔrd̪ʊ forest rd̪ ʃɛ̀rd̪ʊː short
rd kʷardɪlɛ cock
kɔrʃʊ six ɪ́rʃʊ wind
rk bɛrkʊ (placename)
ɔrŋaɽʊ leaf
kl taklɛ (clan name)
kr kákrɪ́ stones
ŋɔkɽal (clan name)
dk kudkire dust

Vowels

In Kadaru one can identify 10 vowels distinguished by the Advanced Tongue Root dividing them into two 5 element groups.[3]

Vowel phonemes[3]
[-ATR] [+ATR]
front central back front central back
close ɪ ʊ i u
mid ɛ ɔ (e) o
open a (ə)

Vowel contrasts

two identical vowels single vowel
i irid̪ canoe it̪ person
íríɲ scorpion ʃiŋ termite house
titim dove ʃíːl king
bid̪id̪ bat t̪i cow
ɪ kɪ́nɪ́ doors ɪ́p tail
ɪ́rɪŋ nose t̪ɪ̀l hair
ɲɪŋɪl left side ɪː sun
e nenɟê what is it? kel stick
ɛ bɛlɛ sesame kɛ́l boundary
ɛnɛn mother mɛ̀ɲ back
t̪ɛrrɛ bull bɛ̀ː one
bɛɟɛ green
ə kəɽəl (placename)
ʃəʃə k.o. tree
a kàkà crow kal porridge
kákáː stone
áɾa rain
tataŋ all tɔ́ː belly
ɔ ɔ́kɔ̀ chest kɔp lion
ɔŋɡɔl road ɔŋ year
ɔrrɔ two kòl house
o doː skin
hillside spring
ʊ kʊddʊ leg bʊ́l dog
ʊ́ɡʊ́ blood nʊm throne
ʊ́d̪ʊ́ breast dʊ́l larynx
kʊmʊ̀l snake ʃʊ́t thread
u unu flies ʃúd sand
kúntú knee kuː chicken stomach
kúndu smoke
kùd̪ú mount

Vowel distribution

Vowel distribution. Vowels appear unrestricted when it comes to the position of the phoneme in a word. However, vowels from different [ATR] sets do not appear together in a word.[3]

phon. initial medial final
i ɪrt̪id̪a root kedil bone èʃí hand
ɪ ɪ́ɟɪŋ nose t̪ɪ́l hair kɪ́nɪ́ doors
e èʃí hand bèrí yellow biɟe beer
ɛ ɛnɛn mother t̪ɛrrɛ bull bɛlɛ sesame
u unut̪ fly ʃút̪í fish spear úɡú big
ʊ ʊ́nɪ relative bʊ́l dog ɪ̀d̪ʊ woman
o óndo donkey kól house doː skin
ɔ ɔ́mʊl elephant bɔ́lt̪ʊ ɔrrɔ two
ə əboki (place name) koɟəŋ alligator ʃekkə (pers. name)
a àttʊ́ wing kal porridge dɔta tool

Syllables and prosody

In Kadaru-Kurtala one can find all four basic syllable types: CV, V, VC, CVC.[3]

Basic syllables[3]
CV t̪í cow
V ɛ̀ː we
VC ɔŋ year
CVC kòl house

The four types also combine in longer words, however the language lacks the combination V.V.[3]

Syllables in words[3]
CV.CV bɛ.lɛ sesame
CV.CVC ka.ɽɔl fish
CVC.CV kɔr.t̪ʊ shoe
CVC.CVC wər.til sheep
VC.CV on.do donkey
VC.CVC ɔŋ.ɡɔl road
V.CV ʊ.nɪ grass
V.CVC i.rid canoe
V.V

Evidence shows a strong presence of long vowels both in word of one open syllable and in longer words. The evidence also suggests tonality in the language. Tagle (Kururu) language also from Jibaal as-Sitta shows more tendency of tonality with three tones: falling, high and low.[7] Due to the lack of sufficient research, one cannot say for sure, but one could assume that Kadaru is also a tonal language, since all Ajang languages are considered tonal languages.[4]

Orthography

Arabic script

Consonants

One of the possible systems of writing Ajang languages is the Arabic script. ALESCO (Arab League Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) offered some solutions to how to write non-Arabic languages in Arabic script.[4] The issue with the Arabic script is the fact that Arabic has thirteen consonants that do not exist in Ajang. Moreover, for six consonants that could be found in Ajang but not in Arabic, ALESCO suggests solutions only to three of them.[4]

for g گ
for ɲ ݧ
for ŋ ݝ
for t̪ no symbol
for d̪ no symbol
for ɽ no symbol
Vowels

Vowels become even more problematic, since Arabic has only three short and three long vowels. Ajang in contrast has seven vowels. Here ALESCO also suggests a possible solution. The proposed symbols, however, are confusing and are not available on computers.[4]

The Old Nubian Script

The advantage of The Old Nubian is the availability of symbols for all consonants. The script becomes problematic when it comes to spelling of [+ and – ATR] vowels. The Ajang community has decided that The Old Nubian script would have to be adjusted for a better distinction between [ATR] vowels.[4]

Sound Spelling
a
wa ɯⲀ
ɛ
ɘ Ⲁy
ɪ l
ʊ
ɔ
e ɛy
i ly
u
o ⲞY
b B
w
m M
f
d Ⲇ'
T
t T'
n N
l
r
ɽ Ⲣ'
ʃ Ϣ
ɲ
g
k K
ŋ
h Ϩ

Adapted Roman Script

Adapted Roman script is considered the best option for spelling of Ajang languages because of its flexibility, availability of many symbols, and the possibility to indicate tone.[4]

Consonants

b [b], c [S], d [d], f [f], g [g], h [h], j [dz], k [k], 1 [1], Ir[c], m [m], n [n], ng [n], ny[n], r [r], t [t], th [t], w [w], y [j]

Vowels

a [a], e [e], i [i], o [o], ø [o], u [u][4]

Diagraphs and monographs

Diagraphs are considered a solution to the challenge of writing of all eleven vowels present in Ajang languages. For example, Warki and Kaak use diagraphs for some consonants:[4]

Warki: /lr/ , /th/, /ng/ and /ny/

Kaak: /dh, /th/, /rh/, /ng/ and /ny/

In order to include both the [ATR] and tonality of vowels a different solution was created. By using some symbols available on computers and by putting diacritics one could both indicate the vowel and its tone.[4]

i u
ɨ æ ʊ
e o
ɛ a ø

Alaki and Norton suggest a slightly different orthography to the one proposed by Jabr el Dar. They added ‘s’ for the palatal fricative in order to distinguish it from the palatal plosive ‘c’. They also propose umlauts for [+ATR] vowels in Kadaru, with the exception of the letter {a}. The also recommend an orthography without tone marks, since it could have negative effects on the process of writing and reading.[3]

Grammar

Verbal number

Uncu, closely related language to Kadaru shows evidence of verbal number in its grammatical structure. In Uncu the number of the object or subject determines participant number, whereas the event number is determined by the frequency or repetition of an event.[8]

Participant number

When the object of a transitive verb is plural, the extension -er is added to the root of the verb before the infliction markers. In the case of intransitive verbs, the extension -er is added to the root of the verb when the subject is plural.[8]

1.    kɪ̄tʊ́                  kūj-ōóŋ

door.sg           open-past.2sg

“You (sg) opened a door.”

2.    kɪ̄nɪ́                  kūj-ēr-ōóŋ

door.pl            open-plr-past.2sg

“You (sg) opened doors.”

Intransitive verb:

1.    ŋāj-ōóŋ

walk-past.2sg

“You (sg) walked.”

2.    ŋāj-ēr-ūúŋ

walk-plr-past.2pl

“You (pl) walked.

Transitive verbs with a plural object or intransitive verbs with plural subject sometimes need a suppletive form including -k or -ʃ extension or involving change in vowel quality.[8]

TR verbs with suppletive forms for PL O[8]
s o sell eat
SG SG ʃàn-í kōl-í
PL SG ʃàn-é kōl-é
SG PL ʃàn-î kàm-î
PL PL ʃàn-ê kàm-ê

Event number

Event number is used when a speaker wants to express performing of an action habitually or iteratively. It is marked by -ʈ, -ug, -k, -ʃ, -c extensions and partial reduplication of the root.[8]

Simplex verb with a plural object

ǐ           ùljé                  òná                 ʃērg-ēr-ēé

1sg      ear.pl               1sg.gen           puncture-plr-past.1sg

“I pierced my ears.”

Repeated event verb with a singular object

ǐ           kūmé=nàá       ūrtál=gí                      wār-í-kò

1sg      rat=gen            exit-hole=acc             search-ssc-ins

tób=gí                          ʃērk-éé

ground=acc                 puncture.rep-past.1sg

“Searching for the rat exit-hole I poked the ground repeatedly.”

Noun phrase

In Kordofan Nubian, like in many Nubian languages one can find noun phrase constructions. There are two types of noun phrases in Nubian, namely ones consisting of a noun with or without modifiers, and ones with a single person pronoun, determine or a single quantifier without any nominal modifiers.[2]

Possessive adjective + noun

In Kordofan Nubian possessive adjectives are derived from personal pronouns by adding the genitive linker -n.[2] Examples from Tabaq language.

1.    SG       an

2.     SG      ʊn

3.    SG       ʈɛn/ʈan

1.     PL       ʊn

2.     PL       wun

3.    PL       ʈin

an                    uudo

1.SG.GEN       goat

‘My goat’

Determiners in Kordofan Nubian (Examples from Tabaq)

This                 iŋ

These              ɛnɛ

That                 waŋ

Those              wanɛ

iŋ                     dʊl

DET.SG          granary

‘this granary’

Noun + numeral/quantifier

In Nubian numerals follow the head noun. The same happens with quantifiers.

idu                   bɛra

person             one ‘one person’ ʊʊdʊ               kimiɲ              kɔɔ month              four                 HAVE.3SG

‘s/he has four months’

Influence of Arabic on Kadaru

Because of the language policy in Sudan, the Arabisation of the educational system, and the fact that Arabic became the lingua franca of Sudan, indigenous languages become highly influenced by Arabic.[9] Ali Obeid Birema studied the amount of loan words in Kadaru in many areas of life, ranging from daily life, through songs, to politics and market. In some cases, the amount of loan words in an expression was as high as 83.3% and the average percentage of loan words in the studied statements was 49.9%.[5]

Example texts and lists of loan words

1.

Iru robber ella tiigi robbema ogugi robbema kukuri robbema alla inɖigi onɖii robbema hamaamgi robbema ayyi haja.

Schalenjeruwa shalenjerigi eiye ʈe she, inɖi iyembergi ilɽan kuner oway kil fanongu aan kora fanongu aan ger irshu fanongu, haa laakin eiyembe illa kunen kije ʈe.

‘The people rear cows, they rear goats, and they rear chicken, and also, they rear donkeys, they breed doves anything.’

‘The wild animals I know of, and there are those which I do not know of. I only hear people talk about them. There are gazelles; there are antelopes and porcupines. I do not know them all, I only hear about them.’

Examples of loan words(1)[5]
Borrowed Words and Expression Meaning
robber to keep animals
robbema used to keep animals
hamaamgi domestic doves
ayyi any
haja thing
laakin but
illa except (only)

Number of loan words: 6 out of 42 = 14.3% deviation

2.

Allijir lowaariko, fi alkharif neji belkureein.

‘In summer we come in lorries, in rainy season we walk.’

Examples of loan words (2)[5]
Borrowed Words and Expression Meaning
lowaariko by lorries
fi in
alkharif rainy season
neji we come
belkureein with feet (walking)

Number of loan words: 5 out of 7 = 83.3% deviation

References

  1. ^ Kadaru at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b c d e Alamin, Suzan (2014). "Noun Phrase Constructions in Nubian Languages: A Comparative Study". Dotawo: A Journal of Nubian Studies. 1: 203–220. doi:10.2307/jj.2353970.12.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Alaki, Thomas Kuku; Norton, Russell (2015). "Kadaru-Kurtala Phonemes". Dotawo: A Journal of Nubian Studies. 2: 215–230. doi:10.2307/jj.2354007.12.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jabr el Dar, Khaliifa (2006). Abu-Manga (ed.). Insights into Nilo-Saharan Language, History and Culture. pp. 183–198.
  5. ^ a b c d e Birema, Ali Obeid (2006) “The Deviation of The Nubian Language of Kadero into Sudanese Colloquial Arabic”. In Abu-Manga, Gilley and Storch (eds.) Insights into Nilo-Saharan Language, History and Culture. Cologne. Pp. 85 - 100.
  6. ^ "Kadaru". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  7. ^ Ibrahim, Gumma and Piet Huttega (2007) “The Phoneme System of Tagle, a Kordofanian Nubian Language”. Advances in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics. Proceedings of the 8th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloqium. Hamburg, August 22–25, 2001. Ed. by Doris Payne & Mechthild Reh (Nilo-Saharan, Vol. 22). Köln: Rüdiger Köpper 2007, pp. 99-113.
  8. ^ a b c d e Comfort, Jade (2014). "Verbal Number in the Uncu Language (Kordofan Nubian)". Dotawo: A Journal of Nubian Studies. 1 (1): 145–163. doi:10.2307/jj.2353970.9.
  9. ^ Abdelhay, Ashraf, Al-Amin Abu Manga and Catherine Miller (2015) “Language Policy and Planning in the Sudan: From Local Vernaculars to National Languages”. In Casciarri, Barbara, Munzoul A.M. Assal and François Ireton (eds.) Multidimensional Change in Sudan (1989–2011). Reshaping Livelihoods, Conflicts and Identities. New York, Oxfor: Berghahn Books.