Daza language

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Daza (also known as Dazaga) is a Nilo-Saharan language spoken by the Daza people inhabiting northern Chad. The Daza are also known as the Gouran (Gorane) in Chad.[1] Dazaga is spoken by around 380,000 people, primarily in the Djurab Desert region and the Borkou region, locally called Haya or Faya-Largeau northern-central Chad, the capital of the Dazaga people. Dazaga is spoken in the Tibesti Mountains of Chad (330,000 speakers), in eastern Niger near N'guigmi and to the north (50,000 speakers). It is also spoken to a smaller extent in Libya and in Sudan, where there is a community of 3,000 speakers in the city of Omdurman. There's also a small diaspora community working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Native toChad, Niger, Sudan, Libya
RegionChad, BET Region, bahr el Gazel Region, eastern Niger
EthnicityDaza people/Gouran people
Native speakers
380,000 (2006–2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3dzg
Toubou map.svg

The two primary dialects of the Dazaga language are Daza and Kara, but there are several other mutually intelligible dialects, including Kaga, Kanobo, Taruge and Azza. It is closely related to the Tedaga language, spoken by the Teda, the other out of the two Toubou people groups, who reside primarily in the Tibesti Mountains of northern Chad and in southern Libya near the city of Sabha.

Dazaga is a Nilo-Saharan language and a member of the Western Saharan branch of the Saharan subgroup which also contains the Kanuri language, Kanembu language and Tebu languages.[2] Tebu is further divided into Tedaga and Dazaga. The Eastern Saharan branch includes the Zaghawa language and Berti language.[3]


The dialects spoken in Chad and Niger have some French influence whereas the dialects spoken in Libya and Sudan have more of an Arabic influence. The Dazaga language was not traditionally a written language but in recent years the SIL had developed an orthography. The majority of Dazaga speakers are bilingual or multilingual in their native tongue along with either Arabic, French, Zaghawa, Hausa, Zarma, Kanuri or Tuareg. There are thus many borrowings from other languages such as Arabic, Hausa or French. For example, the word for "thank you" is borrowed from Arabic shokran and incorporated into the language by usually being followed by the suffix -num marking the second person.
The following tables contain words from the Daza dialect spoken in Omdurman, Sudan. This romanisation is not standard.


English Dazaga English Dazaga
One Tron Eleven Murdai sa Tron
Two Jow Twelve Murdai sa Jow
Three Aguzo Thirteen Murdai sa Aguzo
Four Twzo Fourteen Murdai sa Twzo
Five Foo Fifteen Murdai sa Foo
Six Disi Sixteen Murdai sa Disi
Seven Troso Seventeen Murdai sa Troso
Eight Woso Eighteen Murdai sa Woso
Nine Yisi Nineteen Murdai sa Yisi
Ten Murdum Twenty Digiram
Thirty Murtta Aguzo Fifty Murtta Foo
Forty Murtta Twzo Hundred Kidri

Basic words and phrasesEdit

français Dazaga English Dazaga
homme Agni Good Morning Wasa Nisira
femme Ari Good Night Kalar Sizoo
famille Ama tanga Thank you alay barkantchân
frère Dagi My name is... Tan Sortanjo
soeur Duroo What is your name? Sornuma Jaa? or sornuma eni'
papa Abaa How are you? neré wasi?
maman Aya I am well Kala Layy or Tan Wasu or wasa a'
amie Lao Please toussowna
monde Dina Country Ni
mort Noso Religion Din



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive b t d tʃ dʒ k ɡ
Fricative f s z (ʃ) h
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Flap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
Close i u
ɪ ʊ
Mid e o
ɛ ɔ
Open a



  1. ^ a b Daza at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Greenberg, Joseph H. 1963. The languages of Africa. International Journal of American Linguistics 29.1. Repr. The Hague: Mouton, 1966.
  3. ^ Cyffer, Norbert. 2000. Linguistic properties of the Saharan languages. Areal and Genetic Factors in Language Classification and Description: Africa South of the Sahara, ed. by Petr Zima, 30–59. Lincom Studies in African Linguistics 47. München: Lincom Europa
  4. ^ Walters, Josiah (2016). A Grammar of Dazaga.

External linksEdit

  • Relative Clauses in Dazaga [1]