The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



or Niger-Kordofanian, a hypothetical macrofamily of African languages, which, according to the theory of the American linguist J. Greenberg, includes two branches, the Niger-Congo languages and the Kordofanian languages.

The groups of languages that belong to the Niger-Congo branch are (1) the West Atlantic languages in West Africa; (2) the Mande languages in West Africa; (3) Gur in West Africa; (4) the Kwa languages along the coast of Guinea; (5) the Benue-Congo languages, including a number of languages in northern and eastern Nigeria and in northern Cameroon (Kambari, Katab, Birom, Jukun, Ibibio, Tiv, Bute, etc.) and the Bantu language group; and (6) the Adamawa-Eastern languages in Nigeria, Cameroon, and the countries of Central Africa. Typologically, the Congo-Kordofanian languages are quite diverse (agglutinative, root-isolating, and more rarely inflective). A system of nominative classes is typical for most of the Congo-Kordofanian languages.


Westermann, D. Die westlichen Sudansprachen und ihre Beziehungen zum Bantu. Berlin, 1927.
Greenberg, J. Studies in African Linguistic Classification. New Haven, 1955.
Greenberg, J. Languages of Africa. The Hague, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.