Central Sudanic languages

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Central Sudanic
CAR, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, Congo (DRC), Cameroon
Linguistic classification: Nilo-Saharan?
  • Central Sudanic
ISO 639-5: csu
Glottolog: cent2225[1]

Central Sudanic is a family of about sixty languages which have been included in the proposed Nilo-Saharan language family. Central Sudanic languages are spoken in the Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, Congo (DRC), and Cameroon. They include the Pygmy languages Efé and Asoa.

Blench (2011) suggests that Central Sudanic influenced the development of the noun-class system characteristic of the Niger–Congo languages.


About six groups of Central Sudanic languages are generally accepted as valid, but their interrelationships are not clear. They are customarily divided into East and West branches, though this has not been demonstrated. Eastern Central Sudanic languages (not to be confused with Eastern Sudanic languages) include such languages as Lendu, Mangbetu, and Lugbara, and are concentrated in the northeast corner of DR Congo. The western division includes Bongo–Bagirmi and Kresh, which are scattered across Chad, the CAR, and South Sudan.

Central Sudanic 
 Western   (Bongo–Kresh) 

Bongo–Bagirmi (40 languages)

? Kresh languages (2)

 Eastern   (Lendu–Mangbetu) 

Mangbetu (2–3)

Mangbutu–Lese (5)

Lendu (2–3)

Moru–Madi (10)

Starostin (2011) notes that the poorly attested language Mimi of Decorse is suggestive of Central Sudanic, though he provisionally treats it as an isolate. The inclusion of Kresh has yet to be demonstrated (Boyeldieu 2010).


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Central Sudanic". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Roger Blench. 2011. "Can Sino-Tibetan and Austroasiatic help us understand the evolution of Niger-Congo noun classes?",[1] CALL 41, Leiden.
  • Starostin, George. On Mimi, Journal of Language Relationship, v. 6, 2011, pp. 115–140.

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