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  • John Abraha Ashkaba (a1) and Richard Hayward (a1)


The Kunama are a people of western Eritrea. Kunama (/ku1naa23ma2/) is their selfname, and they call their language /ku1naa23ma1 au23ra2/ or /ki1naa23ma1 ɲeel23a2/ but this is usually referred to by Western scholars simply as ‘Kunama’. It is a language of the Nilo-Saharan phylum, though its family affiliations within that phylum are still a matter of debate; cf. Bender 1989; Ehret 1989. Overall, Kunama has approximately 100,000 speakers. It comprises seven lects (John Abraha Ashkaba 1999), the most widely known of which are Barka (/ba2ka2/) and Marda (/mar2da32/). The present work is based on the latter, though the differences between these two lects is not very great.



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Banti, G. 1994. On Kunama Tones. Paper presented at the 24th Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics. Leiden.
Bender, M.L. 1989. Nilo-Saharan pronouns/demonstratives. In Bender, M.L. (editor), Topics in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics. 131. (Nilo-Saharan Volume 3). Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
Bender, M.L., 1996. Kunama. München: Lincom Europa.
Zappa, Castelnuovo Del, Da, Giuseppe-Fermo, (1938). Grammatica della lingua cunama. Asmara: Missione Francescana.
Connell, B., Hayward, R., and Ashkaba, John Abraha, forthcoming. ‘Observations on Kunama tone (Barka dialect).’
Conti Rossini, C. (1903). Per la conoscenza della lingua cunama. Giornale Societa Asiatica Italiana 16: 187227.
Ehret, C. (1989). Subclassification of Nilo-Saharan: a proposal. In Bender, M.L. (editor), Topics in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics, 3549. (Nilo-Saharan Volume 3). Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
Ashkaba, John Abraha (1999.) Prerequisites for a Kunama - English Dictionary. Unpublished MA dissertation, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Boris, Nikodimos (1987). Sentence Structure of Kunama. Unpublished BA dissertation, Addis Ababa University.
Reinisch, L. (1881). Die Kunama-Sprache in Nordost-Afrika. Akadamie der Wissenschaften 98. Wien.
Thompson, D.E. (1983). Kunama: Phonology and Noun Phrase. In Bender, M.L. (editor), Nilo-Saharan Studies, 280322. (Monograph No. 13, Committee on Northeast African Studies). East Lansing, Michigan: .Michigan State University.
Thompson, D.E., (1989). Kunama Verb Phrase: In Bender, M.L. (editor), Topics in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics, 305346. (Nilo-Saharan Volume 3). Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
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  • John Abraha Ashkaba (a1) and Richard Hayward (a1)


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