Language Snapshots

Le baraïn (Tchad) – Language Snapshot

  • Joseph Lovestrand


Barayin is a Chadic language spoken by about 5,000 people in the Guera region of Chad, in and near the town of Melfi. There are four Barayin subgroups: Jalkiya, Giliya, Komiya and Jalking. The Jalking and Giliya are linguistically and geographically very close to each other, mainly residing in Melfi and nearby villages. The Komiya and Jalking are linguistically and geographically more distant, and must use Chadian Arabic when speaking with each other or with the Jalkiya/Giliya. By the criterion of intercomprehension, Barayin is actually three different languages. The Barayin are part of the Hadjeray peoples, who share cultural traits, but differ linguistically, including Chadic, Nilo-Saharan and Adamawan languages. Chadian Arabic plays a major role in the region, and the Barayin lexicon has adopted several common Chadian Arabic words. However, there are no signs that Barayin speakers are shifting to Chadian Arabic. The documentation and description of Barayin has been taking place hand-in-hand with a local initiative for mother-tongue literacy. The results of this partnership are a literacy program running for nearly the last ten years, and a number of publications on the grammar of Barayin including a Master’s thesis, a doctoral dissertation, and several journal articles, however this ...

Keywords: Barayin, Tchad, Chadic language, Chad, Melfi, Chadian Arabic, Jalkiya, Giliya, Komiya, Jalking

How to Cite:

Lovestrand, J., (2020) “Le baraïn (Tchad) – Language Snapshot”, Language Documentation and Description 19, 154-161. doi:

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Published on
31 Dec 2020
Peer Reviewed