Since only a handful of African languages—such as Swahili or Zulu—are well known on the international stage, it’s easy to assume that indigenous African languages are small and uncommon, like indigenous languages in the US or Canada. But in fact, Africa represents more than 2000 of the world’s 7000 languages, and most Africans speak an indigenous language as their mother tongue. It’s necessary to learn a lingua franca to ease communications with other people in the same country, of course, but at home, most Africans speak their ancestral language.
One of Africa’s bigger indigenous languages is Nuer, a Nilo–Saharan language with about 900,000 native speakers, mostly in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Even though Nuer is one of South Sudan’s largest indigenous languages, alongside its close cousin Dinka, it often becomes overshadowed by English, the only official language of the country. Thus, while Nuer currently enjoys a strong level of usage, efforts to protect the language against erosion from English are necessary. At TranslationServices.com, we believe professional translation services can help, which is why we’re proud to translate to and from Nuer with our dedicated team.
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Let’s explore what the Nuer language is like.
The Nuer people are concentrated in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, with many spilling over into the Gambella region of Ethiopia. Nuer-speaking Sudanese refugees have also formed a sizable community in Omaha, Nebraska, bringing their language with them. Nuer belongs to the Nilo–Saharan language family, which accounts for most languages in South Sudan and represents one of Africa’s primary language families. Like most African languages, Nuer is written in a modified version of the Latin alphabet.
Nuer is a tonal language, which means the tones of words can change their meaning. The Nuer pronominal system is more complex than in English, with three numbers in the first person (singular, dual, and plural), along with a clusivity distinction to specify whether “we” includes the listener. Plural can be expressed in multiple ways—some nouns change form while others don’t, but verbs and modifiers can indicate plurality even when the noun itself doesn’t. Nuer nouns come in four cases—nominative, genitive, locative, and objective—and pronouns are distinguished between nominative and objective. To show possession, possessive adjectives are appended directly to the noun.
Turn to us for translations to and from Nuer
Whether you’re in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Omaha, or anywhere else, our team of passionate Nuer translators is eager to help you bridge language barriers. Translating between English and Nuer isn’t easy, but as native Nuer speakers, our translators promise the highest quality possible. Do you want translation into Nuer or from Nuer? We offer both!
If you’d like to share Nuer texts with the rest of the world, we can help you translate just about anything—from historical documents, to traditional stories, to modern-day business texts and literature. If you’re looking to publish English-language material in Nuer, let us help you connect with Nuer speakers. We can translate business materials into Nuer to help you jump into a new market, translate educational texts into Nuer so Nuer children have access to a better education in their native language, or translate fun content like books, poetry, games, websites, and apps so Nuer speakers and learners alike can use the language to have fun.
We’re excited to get started on your Nuer translation project! Just get in touch to let us know how we can help.