Teso-Turkana Language Page

1 CLASSIFICATION AND WHERE SPOKEN

The Teso-Turkana cluster consists of two major groupings in Eastern Nilotic: Ateso and Ng'aturk(w)ana (commonly Turkana). Teso is spoken primarily in Uganda (Teso District) but also in Kenya (Busia District). Turkana is spoken in Kenya (Turkana District and around Isiolo town, Samburu District) (from Dimmendaal, personal communication, 1983).

2 NUMBER OF SPEAKERS

Grimes (1996) cites a figure of 340,000 Turkana speakers in Kenya while Heine (1980) and Dimmendaal (personal communication, 1983) note 250,000. UBS (1982) notes 700,000 Teso speakers in Uganda. The 1979 Kenya population census notes 207,249 people who claim Turkana and 132,487 people who claim Teso as their "tribal/national affiliation." Tucker (1981) reports 597,000 Teso speakers in Kenya and Uganda and 181,000 Turkana speakers. Grimes (1996) gives a figure of 1,217,000 speakers of Teso.

3 DIALECT SURVEY

Teso and Turkana are on opposite ends of a dialect continuum, with only 70.2 percent of mutual intelligibility. In addition, both groups have "major social differences" (Dimmendaal, personal communication, 1982).

4 USAGE

Teso and Turkana are local languages and are used as a language of instruction in district schools.

5 ORTHOGRAPHIC STATUS

Only Turkana has a standardized orthography.

6 SETS OF LEARNING MATERIALS

Two sets of learning materials will be required.

[African Studies Center]
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