A sociolinguistic survey of the Biali language area

Statement of Responsibility:
Henson, Bonnie J. and Barbara Tompkins
This paper presents a sociolinguistic survey conducted in the Biali language communities (Gur language family) of Benin to collect data on the language and its dialects and on Biali development efforts, and to identify a potential reference dialect for Biali. After a general overview of the taxonomic and geographic language situation, survey interview results are presented on the dialects within Biali. Also, information by local leaders is given on the level of literacy in the region, languages used in religious domains and on the migration history of the Bialaba people. The results suggest that the Biali dialect spoken in and around the town of Gouandé is the dialect best understood by the rest of the Biali language community. It also appears that Biali is undergoing an informal standardization process, with the young people speaking more like each other across dialectical boundaries than like their parents. Attitudes toward this process are positive.
20 pages
Language surveys
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