Saharan languages

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Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, Cameroon
Linguistic classificationNilo-Saharan?
  • Songhay-Saharan?
    • Saharan
  • Eastern Saharan
  • Western Saharan
Saharan languages.png
Range of the Saharan languages (in orange)

The Saharan languages are a small family of languages spoken across parts of the eastern Sahara, extending from northwestern Darfur to southern Libya, north and central Chad, eastern Niger and northeastern Nigeria. Noted Saharan languages include Kanuri (4 million speakers, around Lake Chad in Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon), Daza (330,000 speakers, Chad), Teda (49,000 speakers, northern Chad), and Zaghawa (170,000 speakers, eastern Chad and Darfur). They are a part of the proposed Nilo-Saharan family.

Internal classification[edit]


 Berti † (AKA Sagato;[2] extinct), Zaghawa (AKA Beria[2])


 Kanuri (Bilma, Manga, Tumari, Central), Kanembu (Tarjumo)


 Daza, Teda

External classification[edit]

Roger Blench argues that the Saharan and Songhay languages form a Songhay-Saharan branch with each other within the wider Nilo-Saharan linguistic phylum.[2]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Saharan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c Blench, Roger. m.s. Saharan and Songhay form a branch of Nilo-Saharan.