Nuer language

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Native to South Sudan, Ethiopia
Region Upper Nile state, Gambela Region
Ethnicity Nuer
Native speakers
unknown (890,000 cited 1982–2007)[1]
Western Jikany
Eastern Jikany
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nus
Glottolog nuer1246[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

The Nuer language is a Nilo-Saharan language of the Western Nilotic group. It is spoken by the Nuer people of South Sudan and in western Ethiopia (region of Gambela). Nuer is one of eastern and central Africa's most widely spoken languages.

Nuer language has a Latin-based alphabet. There are also several dialects of Nuer, although all have one written standard. For example, final /k/ is pronounced in the Jikany dialect, but is dropped in other dialects despite being indicated in Nuer orthography.

Nuer communities[edit]

There are different dialects spoken by Nuer groups living in various locations in South Sudan. Some of the Nuer people live in Western Ethiopia. They are called Gajaak, Gajiok, and Lou. The Nuer of the Nasir region are called Gajiok, and those in Waat are called Lou. There are also Gaweer and Jikueichieng. In Gajaak there is Chie Chaany, Chie Reang, Chie Waw, Chie Nyinjani, and Thiang.

Nuer-speaking Sudanese refugees have formed a significant community in Omaha, Nebraska, United States

There are also seven counties inhabited by the others groups of NUER in the western part of the Upper Nile state. These are the:

1: GUIT COUNTY.: Inhabited by Jikany kuec cieng community in the eastern Bentiu 2: RUBKONA COUNTY: Inhabited by Leek community in the northern Bentiu 3: KOCH COUNTY: Inhabited by Jagei community in the central Bentiu previously known as Lich 4: MAYOM COUNTY: Inhabited by Bul chol Geah community in the western part of the state. 5: MAYIANDIT COUNTY: Inhabited by Haak community in the far south western part of the state 6: LEER COUNTY: Inhabited by Dok community in the southern part of the state. 7: PANYIJIAR COUNTY: Inhabited by Nyuong community in the far southern part of the state.

Sample text[edit]

Nuer:  Naath dial diethɛ kɛ a lɔr kä päärkɛ kɛ ciaŋ malä a mäni cuŋkiɛn. Tekɛ kɛ ca̱r kɛnɛ nhök ti de lät kɛ raan kɛ dämaan a gɔa.

English:  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Writing system of Nuer[edit]

The alphabet of Nuer uses 39 distinct letters, shown below in capitals and lowercase styles.[3]

A Ä B C D Dh E Ë Ɛ Ɛ̱ Ɛ̈ G Ɣ H I J
K L M N Ŋ Nh Ny O Ö Ɔ Ɔ̱ P R T Th U W Y
a ä b c d dh e ë ɛ ɛ̱ ɛ̈ g ɣ h i j
k l m n ŋ nh ny o ö ɔ ɔ̱ p r t th u w y


  1. ^ Nuer at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Nuer". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Hutchinson, 1996, pp. xv-xvii

External links[edit]