NALRC Language Map of Africa


Three Kushite and Meroetic kingdoms called northern Sudan their home in ancient times. This region was also known as the Nubian Kingdom and these civilizations flourished mainly along the Nile River from the first to the sixth cataracts. These kingdoms were influenced by, and in turn influenced Pharaonic Egypt.

Sudan is the largest country in the continent. The dominating geographical feature of country is the Nile River. The confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile Rivers is formed near Khartoum, the capital and largest city. There are natural harbors at Port Sudan and Sawakin on the Red Sea.

The primary natural resources of Sudan are water, supplied by the Nile River system, and fertile soil. Petroleum was discovered in western Sudan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Animal life is abundant in the plains and equatorial regions of Sudan.

The population of Sudan is composed principally of Arabs in the north and black Africans in the south; many Arabs are of mixed ancestry. Other ethnic groups in northern Sudan include the Beja, Jamala, and Nubian peoples. The population is (2005 estimate) 4.1 million. The official language of Sudan is Arabic. A program of Arabization is in place to encourage greater use of Arabic in the south. Dinka, Bedawi and Nuer are also spoken by a large number of the people in southern Sudan.

Languages spoken

  • Dinka
  • Nuer
  • Sudanese Arabic


This is the most widely spoken language in Southern Sudan, with over 4.5 million speakers. Understanding Dinka constitutes a gateway into the world of one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest people. Besides understanding how the Dinka have lived in the Nile Valley and interacted with their neighbors, understanding Dinka also offers a window into the current situation in Southern Sudan.


Nuer is a member of the Western Nilotic group of the Nilo-Saharan languages spoken in southern Sudan and western Ethiopia by about 800,000 people....Read more...


Sudanese Arabic is the most widely spoken language in the Sudan, and is dominant in the north. Sudan Arabic consists of a mixture of Egyptian Arabic and Arabic resulting in a distinct variety of Arabic.