Native toChad, Sudan
RegionWadi Fira, West Darfur, South Darfur
EthnicityTama, Kimr[1]
Native speakers
460,000 (2022–2023)[1]
  • Tama
  • Orra
  • Girga
  • Haura
  • Erenga
  • Murase
  • Mileere
  • Madungore
Language codes
ISO 639-3tma

Tama, or Tamongobo, is the primary language spoken by the Tama people in Ouaddai, eastern Chad and in Darfur, western Sudan.[2] It is a Taman language which belongs to the Eastern Sudanic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family. Miisiirii is often considered a dialect, though it is not particularly close.


Tama is spoken by 63,000 people in Dar Tama, a well irrigated area near Guéréda that extends from Kebkebiya village to nearby Sudan. There are two nearly identical dialects, one spoken in the northern and central areas, and another one spoken in the south.[3]



Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless k
voiced b ɟ g
implosive ɓ ɗ̪
Fricative f s ʃ h
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Rhotic r ɽ
Lateral l ɭ
Approximant w j


Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i u ɪ ʊ
Mid e o ɛ ɔ
Open ʌ̈ a

Vowel length is also distinctive.[4]


  1. ^ a b Tama at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates (2010). Encyclopedia of Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 454. ISBN 978-0195337709.
  3. ^ Rilly, Claude. 2010. Le méroïtique et sa famille linguistique. Leuven: Peeters Publishers. ISBN 978-9042922372
  4. ^ Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. (2009). Tama. In Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. (ed.), Coding Participant Marking: Construction Types in Twelve African Languages: Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 305–330.