Old Nubian (Ⲛⲟⲩⲃⲓⲛ)

Old Nubian was a variety of Nubian, a member of the Eastern Sudanic branch of Nilo-Saharan language, and an ancestor of Nobiin and other modern Nubian languages. It was spoken along the Nile valley in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The earliest texts in Old Nubian date from the 8th century AD, and the most recent from 1485.

Old Nubian was written with a version of the Coptic alphabet, with a few letters from Meroitic. There are more than a hundred known texts in Old Nubian, many of which are religious. There are also some administrative, literary and legal texts in Old Nubian.

Old Nubian was discovered in 1906 by Karl Schmidt, a German scientist who noticed that a manuscript he bought was in an unknown language, and not in Coptic, as he initially thought.

Old Nubian alphabet for Old Nubian

Old Nubian alphabet for Old Nubian

Download an alphabet chart for Old Nubian (Excel)

Information compiled by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample text

ⲕⲧ̅ⲕⲁ ⲅⲉⲗⲅⲟ̅ⲥⲛ ⲓ̈ⲏ̅ⲥⲟⲩⲥⲓ ⲛⲁⳡⲁⲛ ⲧⲣⲓⲕⲁ• ⲇⲟⲗⲗⲉ ⲡⲟⲗⲅⲁⲣⲁ ⲡⲉⲥⲥⲛⲁ• ⲡⲁⲡⲟ ⲥ̅ⲕⲟⲉⲗⲙ̅ⲙⲉ ⲉⲕ̅ⲕⲁ


Kitka gelgelosuannon Iisusi nanyan trika, dolle polgara pessna: Papo, iskoelimme ikka.


And when they rolled away the rock, Jesus, raising his eyes high, said: Father, I thank you.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Nubian_language


Information about the Old Nubian language and script

Nilo-Saharan languages

Acholi, Alur, Aringa, Ateso, Avokaya, Baka, Bari, Beli, Bongo, Daza, Dholuo, Dinka, Dongotono, Fur, Gumuz, Jur Modo, Kanuri, Karamojong, Keliko, Komo, Lango, Lotuko, Lokoya, Lopit, Lugbara, Maasai, Ma'di, Mandari, Morokodo, Moru, Narim, Nuer, Nobiin, Old Nubian, Olu'bo, Shilluk, Toposa, Turkana, Uduk, Wa'di, Zaghawa, Zarma

Languages written with the Coptic alphabet

Coptic, Old Nubian


A-chik Tokbirim, Adinkra, ADLaM, Armenian, Avestan, Avoiuli, Bassa (Vah), Beitha Kukju, Beria (Zaghawa), Borama / Gadabuursi, Carian, Carpathian Basin Rovas, Chinuk pipa, Chisoi, Coorgi-Cox, Coptic, Cyrillic, Dalecarlian runes, Elbasan, Etruscan, Faliscan, Fox, Galik, Georgian (Asomtavruli), Georgian (Nuskhuri), Georgian (Mkhedruli), Glagolitic, Global Alphabet, Gothic, Greek, Irish (Uncial), Kaddare, Kayah Li, Khatt-i-Badí’, Khazarian Rovas, Koch, Korean, Latin, Lepontic, Luo Lakeside Script, Lycian, Lydian, Manchu, Mandaic, Mandombe, Marsiliana, Medefaidrin, Messapic, Mongolian, Mro, Mundari Bani, Naasioi Otomaung, N'Ko, North Picene, Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, Odùduwà, Ogham, Old Church Slavonic, Oirat Clear Script, Ol Chiki (Ol Cemet' / Santali), Old Italic, Old Nubian, Old Permic, Ol Onal, Orkhon, Osage, Oscan, Osmanya (Somali), Pau Cin Hau, Phrygian, Pollard script, Runic, Székely-Hungarian Rovás (Hungarian Runes), South Picene, Sutton SignWriting, Sunuwar, Tai Viet, Tangsa, Todhri, Toto, Umbrian, (Old) Uyghur, Wancho, Yezidi, Zoulai

Other writing systems

Page last modified: 15.03.23


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