Dinka alphabet

The Dinka alphabet is used by South Sudanese Dinka people. The written Dinka language is based on the ISO basic Latin alphabet, but with some added letters adapted from the International Phonetic Alphabet. The current orthography is derived from the alphabet developed for the southern Sudanese languages at the Rejaf language conference in 1928.[1] Prior to this, several attempts at adapting the Arabic and Latin scripts to the Dinka language were made, but neither effort was met with large success. Christian missionaries were essential to the development of what became the Dinka alphabet.[2]


Dinka alphabet
Uppercase A Ä B C D Dh E Ë Ɛ Ɛ̈ G Ɣ I Ï J K L M N Nh Ny Ŋ O Ö Ɔ Ɔ̈ P R T Th U W Y
Lowercase a ä b c d dh e ë ɛ ɛ̈ g ɣ i ï j k l m n nh ny ŋ o ö ɔ ɔ̈ p r t th u w y

Dinka does not use f, q, s, v, x, and z; and h is used in digraphs only.

Dinka special letters and digraphs
Uppercase Ä Dh Ë Ɛ Ɛ̈ Ɣ Ï Nh Ny Ŋ Ö Ɔ Ɔ̈ Th
Lowercase ä dh ë ɛ ɛ̈ ɣ ï nh ny ŋ ö ɔ ɔ̈ th
Alternatives a d͏h e é, e é, e gh, q i n͏h n͏y ng o ó, o ó, o t͏h
Unicode (hexadecimal) C4 E4 CB EB 190 25B 190+308 25B+308 194 263 CF EF 14A 14B D6 F6 186 254 186+308 254+308

Note that ɛ̈ (open e with trema/umlaut) and ɔ̈ (open o with trema/umlaut) do not exist as precomposed characters in Unicode and must therefore be generated using U+0308, the diaeresis combining diacritic.

Dental consonants are distinguished from alveolar by adding a following h. Otherwise, consonants match with their IPA equivalents, except /ɲ/, which is written as ny; /ɟ/, written j; /j/, written y; and /ɾ/, written r.


  1. ^ "Dinka language, alphabet and pronunciation". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-02-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links