Midob language

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Native toSudan
Native speakers
(50,000 cited 1993)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mei

Midob (also spelt Meidob) is the language of the Midob people of North Darfur, Sudan. It is one of the Nubian languages, which are part of the Nilo-Saharan language phylum. Apart from in their homeland of North Darfur, Midob speakers also live in the Khartoum area and Jezirat Aba. The Midob people call their language tìd-n-áal, literally "mouth of the Midob", and themselves tìddí (singular), tìd (plural). There are an estimated 50,000 Midob speakers in two main dialects, Urrti and Kaageddi.

Recent research on Midob has been done by Thelwall (1983) and Werner (1993). Both studies concerned the Urrti dialect.


The following tables show the phonological consonants and vowels without phonetic variations and without more recent Arabic loans.


i, ii   u, uu
e, ee ə, əə o, oo
  a, aa  

Note: All vowels occur long and short. The mid central vowel ə only appears in Midob, not in other Nubian languages.


Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t c k
voiced b d ɟ g  
Fricative f s ʃ   h
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ  
Approximant w l j    
Trill r


Midob is a tonal language with two registers: High and Low. Tone is both lexical and grammatical.

Lexical tone
àadí we (exclusive)
áadí stick
àadì light
Grammatical tone
you (sgl obj)
him, her


Midob is an agglutinative language, like the other Nubian languages. The default word order is SOV.


The verbs consist of:

verbal stem ( + extension ) + tense/aspect.

The stem is not altered. Extensions modify or add meaning to the verb like negation, intention, affirmation, completed action, plurality of subject–object or action, durative, habitual and sometimes can be combined (especially negation).

Tense and aspect[edit]

Midob has two basic tenses (Perfect and Continuous) plus Intentional. There are sets of suffixes for indicative, subjunctive and two question forms (to ask for a fact, i.e. "When/Why..." and to verify a fact, i.e. "Did you...").

Sets of personal endings:

  Indicative Subjunctive Question1 Question2
Perfect x x x x
Continuous   x x x x
Intentional x - - -


  1. ^ Midob at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Midob". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Werner, Roland (1993) 'Tìdn-áal: A Study of Midob (Darfur-Nubian)' Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
  • Thelwall, Robin (1983) 'Meidob Nubian: Phonology, Grammatical Notes and Basic Vocabulary' in Bender, M. L. (Ed), Nilo-Saharan Language Studies, V.13, East Lansing

External links[edit]