Southern Nilotic languages

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Southern Nilotic
western Kenya, eastern Uganda, northern Tanzania
Linguistic classificationNilo-Saharan?

The Southern Nilotic languages are spoken mainly in western Kenya and northern Tanzania (with one of them, Kupsabiny or Sapiny, being spoken on the Ugandan side of Mount Elgon). They form a division of the larger Nilotic language family, along with the Western Nilotic languages and the Eastern Nilotic languages.


The Southern Nilotic languages are generally divided into two groups, Kalenjin and Tatogoa, although there is some uncertainty as to the internal coherence of the Kalenjin branch. Southern Nilotic languages appear to have been influenced considerably by Cushitic (Afro-Asiatic) languages.[2] The Kalenjin languages are spoken by the Kalenjin people. This family spreads all around Uganda and to some of Kenya. The Tatoga languages consist of the Omotik language and of the larger Datooga language, or more fitting, Datooga dialect cluster.[citation needed]

Language list[edit]


Proto-Kalenjin has been reconstructed by Rottland (1979).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Southern Nilotic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Rottland, Franz (1982) Die Südnilotischen Sprachen: Beschreibung, Vergleichung und Rekonstruktion (Kölner Beiträge zur Afrikanistik vol. 7). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
  3. ^ Rottland, Franz. 1979. The reconstruction of proto-Kalenjin. (Papers from the Inst. of African Studies (IAS), 128.) Nairobi: Institute of African Studies, University of Nairobi.