Native toEgypt
RegionNile River
Ethnicity60,000 Kunuz (2023)[1]
Native speakers
35,000 (2023)[1]
Coptic script (Old Nubian variant)
Latin alphabet
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3xnz

Kenzi, also known as Kenuzi, Kunuz, or Mattokki, is a Nubian language of Egypt. It is spoken north of Mahas in Egypt, and is closely related to Dongolawi or Andaandi, a Nubian language of Sudan.[2] The two have historically been considered two varieties of one language. More recent research recognizes them as distinct languages without a "particularly close genetic relationship."[3] With population displacement due to the Aswan High Dam there are communities of speakers in Lower Egypt. Recent linguistic research on the Kenzi language has been conducted by Ahmed Sokarno Abdel-Hafiz.[4]

Kenzi is currently a threatened language that has about 35,000 native speakers worldwide.[5] Ethnologue reports that the use of Kenzi is decreasing as the language is spoken by adults only and that all speakers are shifting to Egyptian Arabic.[1] Most speakers of Kenzi live in the city of Kom Ombo in the Aswan Governorate of Egypt.[6]



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless t c k
voiced b d ɟ g
Nasal m n ɲ
Fricative f s ʃ h
Rhotic ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Open a aː


  1. ^ a b c Kenzi at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Massenbach, Gertrud von. "Wörterbuch des nubischen Kunuzi-Dialektes," Mitteilungen des Seminars für orientalische Sprachen, Berlin, 1933, III, pp. 99–227.
  3. ^ Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne. The (Hi)story of Nobiin — 1000 Years of Language Change. Peter Lang, 2011, p. 22.
  4. ^ a b Abdel-Hafiz, Ahmed Sokarno (1988). A Reference Grammar of Kunuz Nubian (PDF). Buffalo: State University of New York.
  5. ^ "Kenzi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  6. ^ "The Nubian language". Retrieved 2021-02-19.