Nuer collection

  • Tatiana Reid (Creator)



Summary of the collection

The Nuer collection presents data recorded between 2015-2019 with speakers of Lou Nuer – a dialect that belongs to the Eastern Nuer dialect chain. It is spoken around the Akobo town in South Sudan.

The collection investigates phonetics, phonology and morphology of Nuer verbs. This is achieved through systematic elicitation of inflectional and derivational paradigms, and through elicitation of target words in various prosodic contests designed to assist with the study of tone and vowel length.

The data was collected by linguist Tatiana Reid for her PhD project conducted at Surrey Morphology Group, University of Surrey. Because at the time of the data collection South Sudan was deemed unfit for travel, the data was collected with members of Nuer diaspora abroad. Majority of the data was collected in Kenya with members of the Lou Nuer community in Greater Nairobi. Some data was collected in London with a Lou Nuer speaker.

Group represented

All Nuer dialects can be separated into two varieties – Eastern and Western. Western Nuer variety is spoken around the city of Bentiu and is often referred to as Bentiu Nuer. Bentiu is also a collective name for the seven sections that speak the Western Nuer variety: Bul, Lek, Jegai, Adok, Nyong, Ador and Jikany. Eastern Nuer is the variety spoken in the rest of the Nuer territory in South Sudan and across the border in Ethiopia. We can distinguish the Gawaar dialect spoken by the Gawaar section, the Lou dialect spoken by the Lou section and the Nasir dialect spoken by the Jikany of South Sudan. The Ethiopian Jikany are said to speak an Eastern variety close to the Nasir dialect and there are further differences between the speakers that belong to the Gajök and Gajak subsections of the Ethiopian Jikany. The speakers of Gawaar, classed as Eastern Nuer, self-report dialect differences with both the Western and the Eastern Nuer and refer to their dialect as the Central variety. The Nasir speakers say that they originate from the Western Jikany (the speakers of the Western Nuer variety) who are also known as Jikany Cieng (lit. homeland Jikany). The Nuer note that the settlements of the Nasir Nuer are relatively recent. There is an opinion to the effect that the Nasir dialect is more similar to the Western variety than to the other Eastern dialects because of its common origin with the Western Nuer sections. The Nasir dialect has been used as a reference in the course of Bible translation, and it forms the basis of the Nuer orthography. This collection was recorded with speakers of the Lou dialect of Nuer (also known as Akobo Nuer, after the name of the main town inhabited by the speakers). Lou Nuer belongs to the Eastern Nuer variety. Lou is the name that the people use to refer to themselves and this is how they are known by other Nuer sections. The spelling of the word ‘Lou’ is the orthographic convention that the Nuer use themselves. The word ‘Lou’ is pronounced as [lɑu].
Date made available1 Dec 2020
PublisherELAR archive
Date of data production1 Jul 2015 - 31 Dec 2020

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