Nayayirak tamaa dumurik – Speak Tima! [PDF]


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66 pp.
1 colour map, 67 colour photographs, 22 drawings, 14 illustrations, numerous tables and charts

The Tima live in the Nuba Mountains of southern Sudan. Their community has roughly 7,000 members, about 1,000 of them having moved to Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan due to various reasons. Those living outside the homeland were the first to observe that their children do not speak the language properly anymore. However, also those Tima who still live in the Nuba Mountains noticed that Arabic is taking over as means of communication not only between the Tima and their neighbours from various language groups, but also within the community itself.

To counterbalance this development, the Tima have formed a language committee who sought the help of linguists with the aim to be able to write their language and to collect as many words as possible in a dictionary in order to motivate their chil­dren using their ancestors’ language. This primer was compiled by the Tima Language Committee and it may be used in school teaching and literacy programmes. The following subject areas are presented:

phonemic inventory of the Tima language

singular / plural



regional terms: places and mountains

neighbours of the Tima

clan names

birds and wild animals

domestic animals, 18 locust species, 12 lizard species

body parts


description of the locative

Tima dishes

plant species


texts concerning baobab and sausage trees

description of the bird and dog festival

pottery and the building of a granary

history of the Tima / myth of the clan splitting

fable of hyena and lion

singing: song text about the Tima language