Definition of Nilo-Saharan in English:


Pronunciation /ˌnīlō səˈharən/ /ˌnaɪloʊ səˈhærən/


  • Denoting or belonging to a phylum of languages that includes the Nilotic family together with certain other languages of northern and eastern Africa.

    ‘The Nilo-Saharan super language family accounts for about 2 percent of the population, and these languages are spoken near the Sudanese border.’
    • ‘There are a few small linguistic minorities, of which the largest is the Nubians, who speak two Nubian languages (Kenuz and Mahas) related to the Nilo-Saharan languages of the Sudan.’
    • ‘A number of Nilo-Saharan languages became endangered in the 20th century because their speakers adopted other, more prestigious and more widely used languages such as Arabic and Swahili.’


  • The Nilo-Saharan phylum of languages.

    ‘His objective is to promote, wherever possible, standardization of orthographies across Nilo-Saharan.’
    • ‘There are more than 100 languages spoken in Chad, virtually all belonging to two great languages families: Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic.’
    • ‘As seen in the hyphenated name (compare map at right), Nilo-Saharan is primarily a family of the African interior, including the greater Nile basin and its tributaries as well as the central Sahara desert.’