Chadic languages

  (Redirected from Proto-Chadic)

The Chadic languages form a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken in parts of the Sahel. They include 150 languages spoken across northern Nigeria, southern Niger, southern Chad, Central African Republic and northern Cameroon. The most widely spoken Chadic language is Hausa, a lingua franca of much of inland Eastern West Africa.

Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon
Linguistic classificationAfro-Asiatic
  • Chadic
ISO 639-5cdc
Afroasiatic languages-en.svg


Newman (1977) classified the languages into the four groups which have been accepted in all subsequent literature. Further subbranching, however, has not been as robust; Blench (2006), for example, only accepts the A/B bifurcation of East Chadic.[2] Kujargé has been added from Blench (2008), who suggests Kujargé may have split off before the breakup of Proto-Chadic and then subsequently became influenced by East Chadic.[3] Subsequent work by Lovestrand argues strongly that Kujarge is a valid member of East Chadic. The placing of Luri as a primary split of West Chadic is erroneous. Caron (2004) shows that this language is South Bauchi and part of the Polci cluster.

(A) the Hausa, Ron, Bole, and Angas languages; and
(B) the Bade, Warji, and Zaar languages.
(A) the Bura, Kamwe, and Bata languages, among other groups;
(B) the Buduma and Musgu languages; and
(C) Gidar
(A) the Tumak, Nancere, and Kera languages; and
(B) the Dangaléat, Mukulu, and Sokoro languages
A chart of the Chadic branch of the Afroasiatic languages.


Main Chadic-speaking peoples in Nigeria.
Hausa-speaking areas in Nigeria and Niger.

Several modern genetic studies of Chadic speaking groups in the northern Cameroon region have observed high frequencies of the Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R1b in these populations (exclusively, of R1b's R1b-V88-Y7771[4] variant). This paternal marker is common in parts of West Eurasia, but otherwise rare in Africa. Cruciani et al. (2010) thus propose that the Proto-Chadic speakers during the mid-Holocene (~7,000 years ago) migrated from the Levant to the Central Sahara, and from there settled in the Lake Chad Basin.[5]


Chadic languages contain many Nilo-Saharan loanwords from either the Songhay or Maban branches, pointing to early contact between Chadic and Nilo-Saharan speakers as Chadic was migrating west.[6]

Although Adamawa languages are spoken adjacently to Chadic languages, interaction between Chadic and Adamawa is limited.[7]


  • Caron, Bernard 2004. Le Luri: quelques notes sur une langue tchadique du Nigeria. In: Pascal Boyeldieu & Pierre Nougayrol (eds.), Langues et Cultures: Terrains d’Afrique. Hommages à France Cloarec-Heiss (Afrique et Langage 7). 193-201. Louvain-Paris: Peeters.
  • Lukas, Johannes (1936) 'The linguistic situation in the Lake Chad area in Central Africa.' Africa, 9, 332–349.
  • Lukas, Johannes. Zentralsudanische Studien, Hamburg 1937;
  • Newman, Paul and Ma, Roxana (1966) 'Comparative Chadic: phonology and lexicon.' Journal of African Languages, 5, 218–251.
  • Newman, Paul (1977) 'Chadic classification and reconstructions.' Afroasiatic Linguistics 5, 1, 1–42.
  • Newman, Paul (1978) 'Chado-Hamitic 'adieu': new thoughts on Chadic language classification', in Fronzaroli, Pelio (ed.), Atti del Secondo Congresso Internazionale di Linguistica Camito-Semitica. Florence: Instituto de Linguistica e di Lingue Orientali, Università di Firenze, 389–397.
  • Newman, Paul (1980) The Classification of Chadic within Afroasiatic. Leiden: Universitaire Pers Leiden.
  • Herrmann Jungraithmayr, Kiyoshi Shimizu: Chadic lexical roots. Reimer, Berlin 1981.
  • Herrmann Jungraithmayr, Dymitr Ibriszimow: Chadic lexical roots. 2 volumes. Reimer, Berlin 1994
  • Schuh, Russell (2003) 'Chadic overview', in M. Lionel Bender, Gabor Takacs, and David L. Appleyard (eds.), Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in Memory of Igor M. Diakonoff, LINCOM Europa, 55–60.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chadic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Blench, 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages: Classification and Reference List (ms)
  3. ^ Blench, Roger. 2008. Links between Cushitic, Omotic, Chadic and the position of Kujarge. 5th International Conference of Cushitic and Omotic languages.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cruciani, F; Trombetta, B; Sellitto, D; Massaia, A; Destro-Bisol, G; Watson, E; Beraud Colomb, E; Dugoujon, JM; Moral, P; Scozzari, R (2010). "Human Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88: a paternal genetic record of early mid Holocene trans-Saharan connections and the spread of Chadic languages". European Journal of Human Genetics. 18 (7): 800–7. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.231. PMC 2987365. PMID 20051990.
  6. ^ Ehret, Christopher. 2006. The Nilo-Saharan background of Chadic. In P. Newman and L. M. Hyman (eds), West African linguistics: studies in honor of Russell G. Schuh, pp. 56-66. Studies in African Linguistics Suppl. 11. Columbus: Ohio University Press.
  7. ^ Blench, Roger. 2012. Linguistic evidence for the chronological stratification of populations South of Lake Chad. Presentation for Mega-Tchad Colloquium in Naples, September 13-15, 2012.

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