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Uganda: Central Sudanic Language Groups
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Ethnic Diversity and Language > Central Sudanic Language Groups

CENTRAL SUDANIC LANGUAGE GROUPS


Central Sudanic languages are spoken by about 6 percent of Ugandans, most of whom live in the northwest. The Lugbara (roughly 3.8 percent of the total) and the Madi (roughly 1.2 percent) are the largest of these groups, representing the southeastern corner of a wide belt of Central Sudanic language speakers stretching from Chad to Sudan. The Lugbara live in the highlands, on an almost treeless plateau that marks the watershed between the Zaire River and the Nile. The Madi live in the lowlands to the east.

Lugbara and Madi speak closely related languages and bear strong cultural similarities. Both groups raise millet, cassava, sorghum, legumes, and a variety of root crops. Chickens, goats, and, at higher elevations, cattle are also important. Corn is grown for brewing beer, and tobacco is an important cash crop.

This region is densely populated, dotted with small settlements separated from one another by streams or patches of bush. Each settlement consists of a family cluster, with a core of patrilineal relatives and their polygynous families living under the authority of a lineage elder. Membership in a settlement is flexible; however, people leave and rejoin a village on the basis of interpersonal relationships.

The clan leaders adjudicate most disputes. They can order a man to pay compensation for assault or property damage; murder is often avenged by killing. The entire clan shares responsibility in most matters, but the clan segment, or lineage, shares more immediate responsibility for avoiding conflict.

Data as of December 1990




Last Updated: December 1990


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Uganda was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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