Nubians and their ancestors have inhabited the land along the banks of the Nile River for hundreds of thousands of years. As one of the “cradles of civilization,” the Nile Valley and Nubia share a history dating back over 300,000 years. The Nubian languages are classified as a group of closely related languages in the Eastern Sudanic branch of the Nilo-Saharan family.
Based in Alexandria, Egypt, Momen Talosh is the founder and director of Nubi, the first Nubian project working to preserve Nubian heritage and teaching two Nubian varieties — Kenzi and Nubiin (Fadicca) — using today’s technology and tools. Their app allows users to work through lessons in Nubian on the go and has more than 10,000 downloads to date. Momen and his team, all Nubian youth, are pushing to further their goals of using technology to preserve and teach the Nubian languages and culture. During this project, Momen is creating an iOS version of the Nubi app with his team, with hopes to follow up the release with the creation of a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. The chatbot will have translated Nubian words and phrases that users can use to learn from easily in conversation. These steps will expand the reach of Nubi to the over 10 million ethnic Nubians living in northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Through achieving these goals, Momen and the team and Nobi will open up a world of new possibilities for the next generation of Nubians. By utilizing new access to technology, Nubi’s Nubian project is an example of a cutting edge approach to language revitalization.