Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Language Planning and Policy in the Sudan

Yousif Elhindi.

Sudan is the largest and one of the most linguistically diverse countries in Africa. The total number of languages spoken in the Sudan is around 120. Despite this linguistic diversity, the two languages that have dominated education, administration, and the media are English and Arabic, none of which is an indigenous language of the country.

This paper traces the history of Arabic and English in the Sudan and explains how language planning has been influenced by political and religious ideologies. During the British colonial rule English was the medium of instruction in secondary and high education. It was also the official language of administration. However, with the rise of nationalism in the 1960s, Arabic substituted English as the language of instruction in secondary education. After the Islamic regime took over in 1989, high education was arabicized as a result of pure religious ideological considerations. The paper also addresses the marginalization of native Sudanese languages.


Yousif Elhindi  (United States)
Associate Professor in Linguistics
Department of English
East Tennessee State University

  • Language planning
  • Language policy
  • Sudan

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)