Dinka (Thuɔŋjäŋ)

Dinka is a member of the Western Nilotic branch of Nilo-Saharan languages. It is spoken mainly in southern Sudan by about 2-3 million people, who call themselves Dinka (Jiëŋ). There are major dialects: Rek, Ngok, Agaar, Ciec, Aliap and Bor which are more or less mutually intelligible. The Rek dialect is considered the standard or prestige variety. There are also speakers of Dinka in Egypt, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, UK and USA.

A number of methods for writing Dinka using the Latin alphabet were developed by missionaries during the 19th and 20th centuries. Information about the language first appeared in Die Dinka-Sprache in Central-Afrika by Johannes Chrysostomus Mitterrutzner, which was publised in 1866. The current Latin orthography is derived from the alphabet developed for the southern Sudanese languages at the Rejaf language conference in 1928.

Dinka alphabet


Dinka pronunciation


Notes

  • Vowels without accents can be either clear or creaky
  • Long vowels are indicated by doubling the vowel letters, e.g. aa, ee, etc

Download an alphabet chart for Dinka (Excel)

Information and corrections by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample text in Dinka

Raan thök eben aye dhëëth ka lau nhöm kua thöŋ nhiim eyithiic, kua thɛ̈kic, kua ci yëknhiethku puou, ku bik cëŋ ka ke ye mith etik.

Translation

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.

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