Kalenjin languages

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western Kenya, eastern Uganda, northern Tanzania
Linguistic classification Nilo-Saharan?
ISO 639-2 / 5 kln
Glottolog kale1246[1]

The Kalenjin languages are a family of a dozen Southern Nilotic languages spoken in Kenya, eastern Uganda and northern Tanzania. The term Kalenjin comes from a Nandi expression meaning 'I say (to you)'. Kalenjin in this broad linguistic sense should not be confused with Kalenjin as a term for the common identity the Nandi-speaking peoples of Kenya assumed halfway through the twentieth century; see Kalenjin people and Kalenjin language.

The Kalenjin languages are generally distinguished into four branches. There is less certainty regarding internal relationships within these.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kalenjin". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


  • Rottland, Franz (1982) Die Südnilotischen Sprachen: Beschreibung, Vergleichung und Rekonstruktion (Kölner Beiträge zur Afrikanistik vol. 7). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer. (See esp. map 1 on p. 31, and the 'Sprachbeschreibung' of the Kalenjin languages on pp. 69–143.)

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