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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2011-010

A sociolinguistic survey of the Mbelime language area

Authors  Hatfield, Deborah H.
McHenry, Michael
Abstract  This paper presents a sociolinguistic survey conducted in the Mbelime language communities (Gur language family) of Benin’s Atacora département. The goal of the survey was to investigate the Mbelime sociolinguistic situation in terms of regional variations of Mbelime, language attitudes, language development, and use of Mbelime in the church domain. Interviews with community members and collection of wordlists were the survey methods employed. It was found that community opinions varied on where “pure” Mbelime is spoken; that is, Mbelime which is not mixed with neighboring languages, in the assimilation of pronunciation, tones, lexical items, or phrase structures from those languages. The opinions varied depending on the location of the interviewee. However, there was some overlap in these opinions, particularly in reference to the central area of Mbelime-speaking villages. There is a keen interest in Mbelime literacy. In the church domain Mbelime is already used widely.
  A sociolinguistic survey of the Mbelime language area
Published  2011
Language  Mbelime [mql]
Country  Benin
Subjects  Language surveys
Keywords  Language surveys