Nandi–Markweta languages

Nandi–Markweta languages
Ethnicity: Kalenjin people, some Dorobo
Great Rift Valley
Linguistic classification: Nilo-Saharan?

The Nandi languages, or Kalenjin proper, are a dialect cluster of the Kalenjin branch of the Nilotic language family.

In Kenya, where speakers make up 18% of the population, the name Kalenjin, a Nandi expression meaning "I say (to you)", gained prominence in the late 1940s and the early 1950s, when several Kalenjin-speaking peoples united under it. This ethnic consolidation created a major ethnic group in Kenya, and also involved a standardization of the Kenyan Kalenjin dialects. However, since outside Kenya the name Kalenjin has been extended to related languages such as Okiek of Tanzania and Elgon languages of Uganda, it is common in linguistic literature to refer to the languages of the Kenyan Kalenjin peoples as Nandi, after the principal variety.



The Kenyan conception of Kalenjin includes Kipsigis and Terik but not Markweta, which is as closely related, and excludes several hunter-gatherer ("Dorobo") peoples who are not ethnically Kalenjin. The ethnic Kenyan Kalenjin are the Nandi proper (Cemual), Terik (Nyang'ori), Kipsigis, Keiyo, South Tugen (Tuken), and Cherangany. The varieties linguistically classified as Nandi in Ethnologue 16 (2009) are:

  • Nandi–Markweta
    • Kipsigis
    • Terik
    • Markweta
    • Nandi
      • Nandi (Cemual) (Kenya)
      • Keiyo (Kenya)
      • (North) Tugen (Kenya)
      • Kisankasa ("Dorobo", Tanzania)
      • Aramanik ("Dorobo", Tanzania)
      • Mediak ("Dorobo", Tanzania)
      • Mosiro ("Dorobo", Tanzania) (considered a variety of Ogiek by Rottland (1982) and Sommer (1992), but assimilated to Nandi)

The Lord's Prayer in Kalenjin

Kwandanyo ne mi kipsengwet,
Ingotililit kaineng'ung.
Ingonyo bounateng'ung.
Ingoyaak eng' ng'ony mageng'ung',
Ko u ye kiyaei eng' kipsengwet.
Konech rani amitwogikyok che bo ra.
Ak inyoiywech kaat lelutikyok,
ko u ye kinyochini kaat che lelwech.
Amemutech ole mi yomset,
ago soruech eng' ne ya.
Amu neng'ung' bounatet, ak kamuktaet, ak torornatet, agoi koigeny.

External links


  • Rottland, Franz (1982) Die Südnilotischen Sprachen: Beschreibung, Vergelichung und Rekonstruktion (Kölner Beiträge zur Afrikanistik vol. 7). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.

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