Language schools » List of Languages » N

List of languages

Nafaanra Is a Senufo language spoken in northwest Ghana, along the border with Côte d'Ivoire, east of Bondouko. It is spoken by approximately 61,000 people (GILLBT 2003). Its speakers call themselves Nafana; others call them Banda or Mfantera. Like other Senufo languages, Nafaanra is a tonal language. It is somewhat of an outlier in the Senufo language group, with the geographically closest relatives, the Southern Senufo Tagwana-Djimini languages, approximately 200 kilometres to the west, on the other side of Comoé National Park.
Nahuatl Is a term applied to some members of the Aztecan or Nahuan sub-branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, indigenous to central Mexico. Under the "Law of Linguistic Rights" it is recognized as a "national language" along with 62 other indigenous languages and Spanish which have the same "validity" in Mexico.
Often the term Nahuatl is used specifically with reference to the language called Classical Nahuatl, which was the administrative language of the Aztec empire but it was preceded by other Nahuatl-speaking cultures, like the Tepanceca, Acolcuah, Tlaxcalteca, Xochimilc, etc. and possibly was one of the languages spoken in Teotihuacan. As the Nahua groups became predominant, It was used as a lingua franca in much of Mesoamerica from the 12th century AD until the late 16th century, at which time its prominence and influence were interrupted by the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Nàmá Previously called Hottentot, is the most populous and widespread of the Khoisan languages. It belongs to the Khoe language family, and is spoken in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa by the Namaqua, Damara, and Hai?om, as well as smaller ethnic groups such as the ?Khomani. The name for Nama speakers, Khoekhoen, is from the Nama word khoe "person", with reduplication and the suffix -n to indicate the plural. According to Ethnologue, there were 250,000 speakers as of 1998.
Nauruan (Dorerin Naoero) is an Austronesian language spoken in Nauru. It is estimated that it has 7,000 speakers, approximately 50% of the population. Almost all speakers are bilingual in English. It is a member of the Micronesian family of Austronesian languages.
Navajo (Also Navaho) (in Navajo: Diné bizaad) is an Athabaskan language (of Na-Dené stock) spoken in the southwest United States by the Navajo people (Diné). It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages (the majority of Athabaskan languages are spoken in northwest Canada and Alaska). Navajo claims more speakers than any other Native American or First Nation language north of the US-Mexico border, with more than 100,000 native speakers, and this number is actually increasing with time. During World War II, a code based on Navajo was used by code talkers to send secure military messages over radio.
Ndau Is one of the Shona dialects. It is spoken by people from the region of "Chipinge". Some of its words are very similar to that of Ndebele and often this dialect can sound very different from that of basic Shona.
Southern Ndebele language Is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele (the Ndebele people of South Africa). There are two dialects of Southern Ndebele in South Africa:
* the Northern Transvaal Ndebele or Nrebele,
* and the Southern Transvaal Ndebele.
Ndonga Is one of the languages spoken in Africa. This is one of the Bantu languages, and is mainly spoken in Namibia and some parts of Angola. Total number of Ndonga speakers are estimated to be roughly 690,000. Grouped with the closely related Kuanyama, it is also called 'Otjiwambo', 'Oshiwambo' or 'Owambo'.
Neapolitan Is a Romance language spoken in the city and region of Naples, Campania (Neapolitan: Nàpule, Italian: Napoli), as well as throughout most of southern Italy including the Gaeta and Sora districts of southern Lazio, the southern part of Ascoli province in Marche, most of Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, northern Calabria, and northern and central Apulia.
Nenets Is a language spoken by the Nenets people in northern Russia. It belongs to the Samoyedic languages which form the Uralic language family with the Finno-Ugric languages. There are two major dialects - Tundra Nenets and Forest Nenets - with low mutual intelligibility between the two. Most Nenetses speak Tundra Nenets.
Nepal Bhasa Is one of the major languages of Nepal. It is one of the roughly five hundred Sino-Tibetan languages in the world, and belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of this family. It is the only Tibeto-Burman language to be written in the Devanagari script.
Nepali Is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, and some parts of India and Burma. It is the official language of Nepal. Roughly half the population of Nepal speaks Nepali as a mother tongue, and many other Nepalese speak it as a second language. Nepali goes by various names. English speakers generally call it Nepali or Nepalese.
New Zealand Sign Language Or NZSL is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand. It became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006, alongside Maori and English. It is the first official sign language in the world. New Zealand Sign Language has its roots in British Sign Language (BSL), and may be technically considered a dialect of British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZSL). Like other natural sign languages, it was devised by and for Deaf people, with no linguistic connection to a spoken or written language, and it is fully capable of expressing anything a fluent signer wants to say. It is linguistically unrelated to American Sign Language. It uses the same two-handed manual alphabet as British Sign Language and Auslan, Australian Sign Language.
Nganasan Is a language of the Nganasan people. It is spoken by some 1063 (1989 est.) or 750 people (1970 est.) in the southwestern and central parts of the Taymyr Peninsula. The Nganasan language belongs to the northern Samoyedic group of the Uralic language family. There are two main dialects in the Nganasan language: Avam dialect and Vadeyev dialect. There is no Nganasan written language. Phonetic features of the Nganasan language include 18 vowel and 20 consonant phonemes and an abundance of diphthongs.
Ngumba Is a language of Cameroon, spoken in the south along the coast and at the border with Equatorial Guinea by some 70 000 members of the Ngumba ethnic group. Ngumba is a tonal language. As a Narrow Bantu language, it has noun class system. The Ngumba noun class system is somewhat reduced, having retained only 6 genders (a gender being a pairing of a singular and a plural noun class).
Língua Geral Is the name of two distinct linguae francae spoken in Brazil, the língua geral paulista, now extinct; and the língua geral amazônica whose modern descendant is Nheengatu. Both were simplified versions of languages spoken by Tupi Indians. Portuguese colonizers arrived in Brazil in the 16th century and, faced with an indigenous population which spoke many languages, sought a means to establish effective communication among the many groups. The two languages were used in the Jesuit missions and by early colonists; and came to be used by black slaves and other Indian groups.
Nicaraguan Sign Language (Or ISN, Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua or Idioma de Signos Nicaragüense) is a signed language spontaneously developed by deaf children in a number of schools in western Nicaragua in the 1970s and 1980s. It is of particular interest to linguists because it offers a unique opportunity to study the "birth" of a new language.
Nicobarese languages Form an isolated group of six closely-related Mon-Khmer languages from the Austro-Asiatic language family, which are spoken by the indigenous inhabitants of the Nicobar Islands of India. They have a total of about 30,000 speakers (22,100 native). The majority of Nicobarese speakers use the Car language. The morphological similarities between Nicobarese languages and Austronesian languages have been used to help support the Austric hypothesis.
Niellim Is a Bua language spoken by some 5,000 people (as of 1993) along the Chari River in southern Chad. It is mainly spoken in two areas: one around the city of Sarh (to which many - perhaps most - speakers have migrated) and one, its traditional home, further north, between about 9°30' and 9°50 N, corresponding to the former chiefdoms of Pra, Niellim, and Niou. Niellim borders on several languages of diverse families - in particular Sara, Ndam, and Laal - and is influenced by the local lingua franca, Baguirmi; it has itself strongly influenced Laal. It is notably homogeneous. As a small minority in Chad, its speakers usually have to learn other languages, mostly (as of 1974) Baguirmi, Sara, Arabic, and Bua.
Nigerian Pidgin Is a dialect of English spoken as a kind of lingua franca across Nigeria that is referred to simply as "Pidgin", "Broken English" or "Brokan". It is not considered a creole language since there are no "native" speakers, although children do learn it early. Its superstrate is English with Hausa, Yorùbá and Igbo as the main substrate languages. Nigerian Pidgin is also spoken across West Africa, in countries such as Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
Niuean Is a Polynesian language, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages. It is most closely related to Tongan and slightly more distantly to other Polynesian languages such as Maori, Samoan, and Hawai'ian. Together, Tongan and Niuean form the Tongic subgroup of the Polynesian languages. Niuean also has a number of influences from Samoan and Eastern Polynesian languages.
Nivkh Or Gilyak (ethnonym: Nivxi) is a language spoken in Outer Manchuria, in the basin of the Amgun, a tributary of the Amur, along the lower reaches of the Amur and on the northern half of Sakhalin. 'Gilyak' is the Manchu appellation. Its speakers are known as the Nivkhs. Gilyak is a language isolate, i.e., it does not appear to be related to any other language. For classification convenience, it is included in the group of Paleosiberian languages. Recently it was included in the controversial Eurasiatic languages hypothesis by Joseph Greenberg.
Nogai Is a language spoken in southwestern Russia. Three distinct dialects are recognized: Qara-Nogay (Black or Northern Nogay), spoken in Dagestan; Nogai Proper, in Stavropol; and Aqnogay (White or Western Nogay), by the Kuban River, its tributaries in Karachay-Cherkessia, and in the Mineralnye Vody District. Qara-Nogay and Nogai Proper are very close linguistically, while Aqnogay shows more differences.
Norfuk Is the language spoken on Norfolk Island by the local residents. It is a blend of English of the 1700s and Tahitian originally introduced by settlers from the Pitcairn Islands who spoke Pitkern. The language itself does not have words to express some concepts; some therefore describe it as a Cant, similar to a Pidgin, or as a Creole language. Some Islanders believe that the only solution is to create a committee charged with creating new words in Norfuk rather than simply adopting English words for new technological advances. For example, Norfuk recently adopted the word Kompyuuta, a Norfuk-ised version of Computer. Processes similar to this exist in relation to other regional or minority languages around the world, such as the Maori language in New Zealand and the Icelandic language. Some minority languages already have official bodies (such as New Zealand's Maori Language Commission) creating new words.
Norman Is a Romance language, one of the Oïl languages. The name Norman-French is sometimes used to describe not only the modern Norman language, but also the administrative languages of Anglo-Norman and Law French used in England.
Norn Is an extinct North Germanic language that was spoken on the Shetland Islands and Orkney Islands, off the north coast of mainland Scotland. After the islands were returned to Scotland by Norway in the 15th century, its use was discouraged by the Scottish government and the Church of Scotland (the national church), and it was gradually replaced by Scots over time.
Northern Or North Sami (also written Sámi or Saami; formerly Lappish or Lapp) is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. It can be divided into a three major dialect groups: Torne, Finnmark and Sea Sami. All together, North Sami spreads out across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Depending on the survey, this estimate can bring the population of North Sami speakers to be somewhere between 15,000 speakers and 25,000 speakers.
Northern Sotho Sepedi, or "Sesotho sa Leboa", is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data), mostly in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. Northern Sotho is one of the so-called Bantu languages, belonging to the Niger-Congo language family. It is most closely related to Setswana and Sesotho (Southern Sotho).
Norwegian Is a Germanic language spoken in Norway. Norwegian is closely related to and generally mutually intelligible with Swedish and Danish. Together with these two languages as well as Faroese and Icelandic, Norwegian belongs to the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages). Native speakers of Norwegian are, for the most part, quite proficient in understanding Danish and Swedish in spoken as well as written form. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Danish was the standard written language of Norway. As a result, the development of modern written Norwegian has been subject to strong controversy related to nationalism, rural versus urban discourse, and Norway's literary history.
N/u Or N/uu is a Khoisan language spoken by the ‡Khomani people in South Africa. N/u belongs to the Ta’a-Kwi language family, with /Xam being its closest relative. The slash symbol in these names represents a click like the English interjection tsk! tsk! used to express pity or shame; "N/u" is pronounced like noo, with a tsk pronounced in the middle of the en.
Nuer Is a Nilo-Saharan language of the Western Nilotic group. It is spoken by the Nuer tribe in southern Sudan.
Nuristani languages Are said to represent the third and by far the smallest branch of the Indo-Iranian languages. The recognition of its independent status came much later than that of the other two branches. As the term "Indo-Iranian" is well established, there is resistance to any change in the nomenclature. They were not described in the literature until the 19th century. The older name for the region was Kafiristan and the languages were termed Kafiiri or Kafiristani, but the terms have been replaced by the present ones as being less pejorative, for kafir means "infidel".
Nuxálk (Also Bella Coola) is a Salishan language spoken in the vicinity of the Canadian town Bella Coola, British Columbia by approximately 20-30 elders. Until recently, the language was also called Bella Coola, but the native designation Nuxálk is now preferred. Though the number of truly fluent speakers has not increased, the language is now taught in both the Provincial (British Columbia – B.C.) school system and the Nuxálk Nation's own school – Acwsalcta. Nuxálk language classes, if taken to at least the Grade 11 level, are considered adequate second language qualifications for entry to the major B.C. universities.
Nyabwa (Or Nyaboa) language is a Kru language spoken in Côte d'Ivoire.
Nyah Kur Is an Austroasiatic language spoken by a remnant of the Mon people of Dvaravati, the Nyah Kur people, who live in present-day Thailand. Known as Chao-bon in Thai, it is spoken by a few thousand people in the central and northeastern provinces. Being the only languages of the Monic branch of the Mon-Khmer language family, Mon and Nyah Kur are very closely related. The speakers of Nyah Kur are the descendants of those Mon who did not flee west when the Khmer overran their empire in the 9th and 11th centuries. Consequently, modern Mon and Nyah Kur have both developed directly from Old Mon independently for almost a millennium.
Nyagnumarta Is spoken by Indigenous Australians in the region of Western Australia to the south and east of Lake Waukarlykarly, including Eighty Mile Beach, and part of the Great Sandy Desert inland to near Telfer.
Nynorsk (Literally New Norwegian) is one of the two officially sanctioned written standards of the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. It's used as the primary written language by just over 10% of Norwegian speakers in Norway. Nynorsk is also the Norwegian linguistic term for Modern Norwegian, which is the language spoken in Norway since the mid 1500s. In this sense Nynorsk covers all modern Norwegian dialects and all modern Norwegian orthographies, including Nynorsk, Høgnorsk, Bokmål and Riksmål. This sense of the word is described further in the article Modern Norwegian and is not used below.
Nyoro Is a local language of Nyoro in Uganda. It belongs to the Niger-Congo family, Benue-Congo subgroup, Bantu branch (Nyoro-Ganda group). Has probably two dialects: Orunyoro and Rutagwenda. A standardized orthography was established in 1947.