Dinka Lessons

March 6, 2014

Our field project managers are learning the ancient language of Dinka

March 6, 2014

In South Sudan, the population is largely made up of two tribes: the Dinka and the Nuer. Where we work in Lakes State, the majority are part of the Dinka tribe; consequently, the Dinka dialect is something that our field project managers Jenna and Sandy hear on an almost daily basis.

While the two of them have a translator during their visits to the villages we help, they’ve recently taken it upon themselves to learn this centuries-old language.

On the rare occasion that the two of them have any free time at all, they’ve created a school of sorts at their camp.

“Our teacher, Paulo, is really patient with us and takes the time to answer all of our questions,” Sandy said.

Working under the shade to shield themselves from the hot African sun, the two have been mastering the unique Dinka alphabet and learning the different inflections on vowels (some of them are best described as “creaky,” while others are often called “breathy”). 

Learning this ancient Nilotic dialect will help our two managers communicate even more easily with the 2-3 million people across the region who speak Dinka.