An Arabic Creole in Africa: The Nubi Language of Uganda

UB Nijmegen [Host], 2003 - 333 Seiten
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At present, about 25,000 Nubi live scattered over the towns of Uganda and Kenya. Their language, Nubi, has been called an Arabic creole. Nubi is Arabic, since about 90% of its vocabulary is of Arabic nature. It is termed a creole, since many of its structural and developmental features resemble those of known creoles. The history of the Nubi people is sketched, and against this background the processes of pidginization and creolization. The Arabic lingua franca used mainly for commercial purposes in the Sudan before 1820 found its way initially to the military training camps in southern Egypt, and later on in the southern Sudan through the activities of the military and merchants in the southern Sudanese provinces. The high-status Arabic-speaking officers and traders used a simplified Arabic when communicating with their southern Sudanese subordinates. The pidgin Arabic, which consequently developed, became a symbol of group membership for its southern Sudanese speakers. At around 1885, a mixed group of Arab-black Sudanese troops withdrew to the Lake Albert area in present-day Uganda. It is from part of this group that the present-day Nubi hail. A synchronic description of the Nubi-language as it is spoken in present-day Uganda, is given, and Nubi is linked with the Arabic dialects of the area aiming at a reconstruction of its source and development. Only the vocabulary and morphological markers may give some evidence as to the source of the Arabic pidgin/creoles. The Nubi vocabulary then indicates an Egyptian and general Sudanese origin.

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