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"Kanuri is a Western Saharan language of the Saharan branch of the Nilo-Saharan family..." (Hutchison, personal communication, 1985). (Webbook)
Ethnologue gives the classification as: Nilo-Saharan, Saharan, Western, Kanuri.
"[It] is spoken in Nigeria (in parts of Sokoto, Gongola, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi states and most predominantly in Bornu State), in Niger (in the eastern prefectures of Zinder and Diffa, with some speakers also found in the Bilma arrondissement of the Agadez prefecture), and in Cameroon. Its sister language Kanembu is spoken in Chad around the northern, eastern and southern shores of the disappearing Lake Chad" (Hutchison, personal communication, 1985).
According to information compiled from Ethnologue, speakers include:
Ethnologue notes 500,000 second-language speakers of "Central Kanuri." (Not clear if this is included in the above total.)
Cyffer (personal communication, 1985) gives the following breakdown of Kanuri dialects:
Hutchison (personal communication, 1985) reports: "The major dialects of Kanuri spoken in Nigeria and Niger are Bilma, Dagera, Fashi, Manga, Mobar, and Yerwa. A wide range of dialects of Kanembu are spoken in Chad, and certain of the westernmost dialects, a very few of which are spoken on the former shores of Lake Chad in eastern Niger (Kuburi, Suwurti, and Tumari) are mutually intelligible with the Mobar dialect of Kanuri. The Kogono dialect of Kanembu spoken in the Kanem region north of Lake Chad is also mutually intelligible with the Mobar dialect and is the dialect that has traditionally been used to broadcast Kanembu in Chad. In Nigeria, the dialect emerging as most important is Yerwa of Maiduguri, owing to the city's historical and present day political importance. The Yerwa dialect closely resembles that spoken by the Mobar (or Mowar) dialect. Its population straddles the Nigeria-Niger border area. In Niger, more than half of the Kanuri-speaking population is for the most part Manga and partially Dagera speaking. The Manga and Dagera dialects are fully mutually intelligible, though significantly different from the Mobar and Yerwa dialects." (Webbook)
SIL International considers Kanuri as a "macrolanguage" with Manga Kanuri, Central Kanuri, and Tumari Kanuri listed under it. Information compiled from Ethnologue on these three plus Bilma Kanuri and Kanembu, and their respective (sub)dialects follows:
Hutchison (personal communication, 1985) reports "Kanuri is one of the major national languages in Nigeria and of Niger. It is one of the twelve languages selected for implementation in the Universal Primary Education Program (Nigeria, in the 1970s) and in Niger it is one of five national languages being implemented in the primary program of educational reform." (Webbook)
[NB- Educational reform with respect to national languages such as Kanuri in Niger has not progressed far in the last two decades. Ethnologue reports only two bilingual Kanuri (Manga) & French schools in Niger.]
Literacy rate of speakers of Kanuri Manga (according to Ethnologue):
Cyffer (1991) discusses efforts in Nigeria to standardize Kanuri and implement its use in education.
"A standardized Romanized orthography (known in Nigeria as the Standard Kanuri Orthography) was developed and officially approved by the Kanuri Language Board in Maiduguri, Nigeria, in 1975. The Borno Local Authority established a committee for the development of an official Ajami (Arabic script) orthography of Kanuri, but the work was never completed. (Kanuri was one of the languages whose alphabet was discussed at the 1966 UNESCO Bamako meeting.)
"The Republic of Niger is presently developing its own standardized orthography of Kanuri. Since there is far greater dialect diversity in Niger than in Nigeria, this task is far more difficult, as will be the task of attempting to harmonize this orthography with Nigeria's Standard Kanuri orthography" (Hutchison, personal communication, 1985). (Webbook) [NB- The latest standardization of national language alphabets in Niger was made in 1999]
Hutchison (1991) sees the potential for standardizing Kanuri orthography, outlining some areas in which "fruitful compromise" would be possible.
The Latin (Romanized) orthographies use extended characters. In Niger ǝ U+01DD/Ǝ U+018E and ɍ U+024B/Ɍ U+024C are used (r̵, r with U+0335, was/is used before Unicode 5.0). The letter ǝ U+01DD/Ǝ U+018E is also part of the Pan-Nigerian alphabet.
Ajami was used for the language in the past. Ethnologue reports it is used currently for Central Kanuri.
Kanuri in Niger:
Some samples uses the letters ə <U+0259 LATIN SMALL LETTER SCHWA> with capital Ə <U+018F LATIN CAPITAL LETTER SCHWA>. But the correct letter seems to be ǝ <U+01DD LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED E> and Ǝ <U+018E LATIN CAPITAL LETTER REVERSED E>.
Unicode fonts with extended Latin ranges would be necessary.
The CNRS/LLACAN "AFRO" Tavultesoft Keyman keyboard (for AZERTY) is intended to support this language: http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/downloads/keyboards/details.php?KeyboardID=377&FromKeyman=0
Hakkiwa Adamganabe Dunya Ngaro Wowurtəgənama (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Kanuri Yerwa Version ) http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/kph.htm [is this in the formal orthography?]
Not aware of any.
Kanuri [SIL, the RA for ISO-639-3, groups knc, kby, krt under the "macrolanguage" kau]
Kanuri, Central [Yerwa]
The RIFAL project has been involved with INDRAP in Niger in converting Kanuri text in legacy 8-bit fonts to Unicode fonts.
Cyffer, Norbert (1991) "From Basic Linguistic Research to the Implementation of a Mother-Tongue in The Nigerian Educational System: The Kanuri Example." In N. Cyffer et al, Language Standardization in Africa. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. Pp. 1
Hutchison, John P. (1991), "Prospects for a Harmonized Kanuri Orthography: Niger-Nigeria." In N. Cyffer et al, Language Standardization in Africa. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. Pp. 111-134.
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Kanuri, Bilma," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=bms
______, "Kanuri, Central [Yerwa]," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kby
______, "Kanuri, Manga," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kby
______, "Kanuri, Tumari," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=krt
______, "Kanembu," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kbl
SIL International, "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: kau," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/documentation.asp?id=kau
______, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
______, "ISO 639-3 Macrolangauge Mappings," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/macrolanguages.asp
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
Wikipedia, "Kanembu language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanembu_language
______, "Kanuri language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanuri_language