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Kanuri is a dialect continuum spoken by some four million people, as of 1987, in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, as well as small minorities in southern Libya and by a diaspora in Sudan. It belongs to the Western Saharan subphylum of Nilo-Saharan. Kanuri is the language associated with the Kanem and Bornu empires which dominated the Lake Chad region for a thousand years. The basic word order of Kanuri sentences is subject->object-> verb. It is typo-logically unusual in simultaneously having post-positions and post-nominal modifiers for example, "Bintu's pot" would be expressed as nje Bintu-be, "pot Bintu-of". Kanuri has three tones: high, low, and falling. It has an extensive system of consonant weakening (for example, sa- "they" + -buna "have eaten" > za-wuna "they have eaten". Traditionally a local lingua franca, its usage has declined in recent decades. Most first-language speakers speak Hausa or Arabic as a second language.

Also Called:

Bla Bla, Kanouri, Kanoury, Bilma