A sociolinguistic survey of the language varieties of the Doba area of Chad: Bebot, Bedjond, Gor, and Mango

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Isaac, Kendall and Eric Johnson
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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2007-015
55 pages

This paper presents a sociolinguistic survey conducted in the Doba area of Chad, specifically dealing with the Bebot, Bedjond,1 Gor, and Mango language communities. The survey was designed to provide the administrators of the Association SIL Tchad with information about these communities in order to determine whether there is a need for SIL involvement in language development in this region, and if so, the priority and strategy for such involvement.

Bebot, Bedjond, Gor, and Mango are part of the Sara language family (Nilo-Saharan) and are therefore related to Mbay and Ngambay.

Together with a general overview of the linguistic classification and geographic language situation, results of interviews, wordlist comparison, and individual comprehension testing are presented. These results concern intercomprehension among these varieties, comprehension of Mbay and Ngambay, language choice and vitality, and attitudes toward both written and oral forms of these three varieties, Mbay and Ngambay. Also, information by local leaders on literacy is included.

There are no indications of language shift, attitudes toward the local language are good, and there is a high level of interest in local language literacy.

Wordlist results show a very close relationship linguistically among all six of these varieties.

The individual comprehension test results indicate that the Bebot, Bedjond, Gor, and Mango speakers have a high level of comprehension of the other varieties. However speakers of these varieties have mixed levels of comprehension of Mbay and Ngambay, with some speakers understanding one or both of these well, but others only partially understanding or understanding very little of these languages.

Because of the low levels of comprehension of Mbay and Ngambay on the part of some of these speakers the separate language development of one of these three varieties is justified. Because of the high degree of intercomprehension and an absence of negative attitudes any one of the three could probably serve speakers of all three as a reference dialect. However, for a variety of reasons, it is the recommendation of this report that language development for the various language varieties of this region take place together in one combined project, rather than by separate, competing projects.

This report is a translation of the report "Enquete sociolinguistique des varietes linguistiques de la region de doba du tchad", SIL Electronic Survey Report 2007-010.

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Language surveys
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