Languages

Old Nubian

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Introduction

Old Nubian is an ancient variety of Nubian, spoken until about the 15th century AD. It is ancestral to modern-day Nobiin? and related to other Nubian.

Old Nubian is one of the oldest written African languages, but was only used sporadically. The civil administration and legal records tended to employ Greek, while the church leadership (originally all Egyptians) were fluent in Coptic.

The verb

The verb has five main forms:

  • present,
  • preterite I,
  • preterite II,
  • future, and
  • imperative.

For each of these, there are subjunctive and indicative forms. It conjugates according to person.

Sample verb: dollil wishing

Person PRESENT PRETERITE I PRETERITE II FUTURE
Subjunctive Indicative Subjunctive Indicative Subjunctive Indicative Subjunctive Indicative
Sg.1 dolli-r-i dolli-r-e (-e < i+a) doll-a-ri doll-a-re (-e < i+a) dolli-s-i (-s- < -r+s-) dolli-s-e (-s- < -r+s-, -e < i+a) doll-ar-r-i doll-ar-r-e (-e < i+a)
Sg.2/3 dolli-n (-n < -r+n) dolli-n-a (-n- < -r+n-) doll-o-n / -a-n (-n- < -r+n-) doll-o-n-a / -a-n-a (-n- < -r+n-) dolli-si-n (-s- < -r+s-) dolli-si-n-a (-s- < -r+s-) doll-an (-an < -ar+n) doll-ann-a (-ann- < -ar+n-)
Pl.1/2 dolli-r-u dolli-r-o (-o < -u+a) doll-a-r-u doll-a-r-o (-o < -u+a) dolli-s-u (-s < -r+s) dolli-s-o (-s- < -r+s-, -o < u+a) doll-ar-r-u doll-ar-r-o (-o < u+a)
Pl.3 dolli-r-an dolli-r-an-a doll-a-r-an doll-a-r-an dolli-s-an (-s < -r+s) dolli-s-an-a (-s < -r+s) doll-ar-r-an doll-ar-r-an-a

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