Identification and Location. The Nuer speak of themselves as "Naath," or "human beings." Nuerland is located in the southern Sudan between 7° and 10° N and 29° and 34° E. The main channel of the Nile River divides their country into western and eastern regions. Most of Nuerland consists of open savanna and is subject to considerable flooding during the two rainy seasons (April to June and July through October). In 1956 the Nuer were estimated to number in the range of 450,000 persons, with an average population density of approximately 2.8 persons per square kilometer, a figure that varies considerably in the wet and dry seasons.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Nuer speak a Nilotic dialect most closely related to Atuot. Nuer, Dinka, and Atuot have been conventionally defined as a distinct subgroup. There are no significant subdialects of Nuer.