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Kadu languages

Nuba Mountains, Sudan
Linguistic classificationNilo-Saharan?
  • Western
  • Central
  • Eastern

The Kadu languages, also known as Kadugli–Krongo or Tumtum, are a small language family of the Kordofanian geographic grouping, once included in Niger–Congo but since Thilo Schadeberg (1981) widely seen as Nilo-Saharan. However, there is little evidence for either classification, and a conservative classification would treat the Kadu languages as an independent family.[2]

Blench (2006) notes that Kadu languages share similarities with multiple African language phyla, including Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan, suggesting a complex history of linguistic convergence and contact.[3]


There are three branches:


Hall & Hall (2004)[4], based on Schadeberg (1987)[5], classify the languages as follows.


Kamda, Tulishi

Damba, Kadugli


Katcha, Tuna

Kanga, Kufa, Kursi, Lima, Shororo

Krongo-Abdullah, Tumma


Kurondi, Talasa, Tumtum

Dafalla (2000) compares 179 cognates in Kadugli, Kamda, Kanga, Katcha, Keiga, Kufa, Miri, Shororo-Kursi, and Tulishi. Dafalla's (2000) results are similarly to those of Schadeberg (1989).

Further reading


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kadugli–Krongo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Gerrit Dimmendaal, 2008. "Language Ecology and Linguistic Diversity on the African Continent", Language and Linguistics Compass 2/5:843ff.
  3. ^ Blench, Roger. 2006. The Kadu languages and their affiliation: between Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic. Insights into Nilo-Saharan Language, History and Culture. Al-Amin Abu-Manga, L. Gilley & A. Storch eds. 101-127. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.
  4. ^ Hall, Marian and Hall, Edward. 2004. Kadugli-Krongo. Occasional Papers in the Study of Sudanese Languages 9. 57-68. Entebbe: Summer Institute of Linguistics Sudan.
  5. ^ Schadeberg, Thilo C. 1987. Kordofanian. In The Niger-Congo languages, ed. by John Bendor-Samuel, pp. 66-80. Lanham: University Press of America.
  • Dafalla, Rihab Yahia. 2000. A phonological comparison of the Katcha Kadugli language groups in the Nuba Mountains. M.A. Dissertation, University of Khartoum.
  • Schadeberg, Thilo C. 1981. "The classification of the Kadugli language group". Nilo-Saharan, ed. by T. C. Schadeberg and M. Lionel Bender, pp. 291–305. Dordrecht: Foris Publications.