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Makua refers to a group of Bantu (P.30) languages and dialects spoken in Mozambique and Tanzania. The purpose of the survey presented in this report was to gather linguistic and sociolinguistic data from 5 Makua varieties spoken along the coast.
How closely related are these varieties to central Makua, the variety considered the reference dialect? In order to answer this question, I used three classic survey methods recommended by Bergman (ed. 1990), namely lexicostatistics, Recorded Text Testing and sociolinguistic interview. As a result, Emoniga clearly emerged as the variety most distinct from central Makua, with the other southern dialect Emarevone and a central one-Enaharra-closely behind. But are they dialects or languages? In an attempt to answer this question, I developed a "continuum of relative autonomy," which shows how different the respective varieties are from central Makua. This continuum is then used as a grid in discussing the status of the varieties of Makua and their potential for language development.