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The Cabe language of Benin is part of the larger Ede language continuum. The Ede languages are spoken in the southern part of West Africa stretching from western Nigeria across Benin to the eastern part of central Togo. Among the Ede varieties, two have thus far undergone language development on a larger scale: Yoruba both in Nigeria and Benin, and Ife in Togo. A survey of the Cabe communities was conducted to assess whether and to what extent existing literature and literacy efforts in Yoruba and Ife could extend to the Cabe communities and to determine the nature and extent of SIL’s possible involvement among these communities.
Through the administration of community and individual interviews, as well as the elicitation of word and phrase lists, the survey researchers collected data concerning: tested and reported levels of dialect intercomprehension; language vitality, language attitudes toward both written and oral forms of Cabe, Yoruba and Ife; reported proficiency and attitudes regarding French; and literacy levels.
Overall, the results show high levels of comprehension of Yoruba while comprehension of Ife is low. There are no indications of language shift, and attitudes toward Cabe development appear to be positive. Language attitudes toward Yoruba by native Cabe speakers are also positive.