Dinka language

Dinka Language


Dinka language

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This article is about the language, for the ethnic group see Dinka.

The Dinka language or dialect cluster, called in the language itself, is a Nilotic language spoken by the Dinka people, the major ethnic group of South Sudan. There are five main varieties, Ngok, Rek, Agaar, Twic / Tuic East, and Bor, which are distinct enough to require separate literary standards and thus to be considered separate languages. Jaang or Jieng is used as a general term to cover all Dinka languages. The Malual dialect (Aweil) is the prestige dialect.

The closest non-Dinka language is Nuer, the language of the Dinka's traditional rivals. The Luo languages are also closely related.

The Dinka are found mainly along the Nile, specifically the west bank of the White Nile, a major tributary flowing north from Uganda, north and south of the Sudd marsh in southwestern and south central Sudan in three provinces: Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Southern Kurdufan.

Linguistic features


Dinka has a rich vowel system, with at least thirteen phonemically contrastive vowels. The underdots () indicate "breathy" vowels, represented in Dinka orthography by diaereses ():

There may be other distinctions. The Dinka southeastern dialect is known to contrast modal voice, breathy voice, faucalized voice, and harsh voice in its vowels, in addition to its three tones. The ad hoc diacritics employed in the literature are a subscript double quotation mark for faucalized voice, <span...
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