Central Sudanic languages

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

Central Sudanic is a family of about sixty languages that 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.


Half a dozen groups of Central Sudanic languages are generally accepted as valid. They are customarily divided into East and West branches; Starostin (2016)[2] finds support for Eastern Central Sudanic (Lendu, Mangbetu, Lugbara, etc., concentrated in the northeast corner of DR Congo) but not for the western division, which would include Bongo–Bagirmi and Kresh scattered across Chad, the CAR, and South Sudan.

Central Sudanic 
 Eastern   (Lendu–Mangbetu) 

Mangbetu (2–3)

Mangbutu–Lese (5)

Lendu (2–3)

Moru–Madi (10)

Bongo–Bagirmi (40 languages)


Birri (1)

Kresh (2)

Starostin (2011) notes that the poorly attested language Mimi of Decorse is suggestive of Central Sudanic, though he provisionally treats it as an isolate. Boyeldieu (2010) states that the inclusion of Kresh has yet to be demonstrated, but Starostin (2016) finds good support, with Birri being its closest relative.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Central Sudanic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ George Starostin (2016) The Nilo-Saharan hypothesis tested through lexicostatistics: current state of affairs

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