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A team from the Uganda-Tanzania Branch of SIL International visited the Kara [reg] and Kerewe [ked] language areas in Mwanza Region, Tanzania, in September 2014. They conducted a sociolinguistic survey with the purpose of determining which languages can best be used for literature development for the Kara and Kerewe communities. The survey included an assessment of the dialect situations and the current vitality of the two languages, and also an assessment of the groups’ comprehension of nearby languages. The team gathered data from four research locations in the Kerewe language area and two in the Kara language area. Methods used by the team included group interviews, word and phrase list elicitation, and intelligibility tests, which involved playing recorded stories from the neighboring languages and testing participants’ understanding of the stories. The team then analyzed both the linguistic and the sociolinguistic data from the survey.
The team found that both languages are vital, and that the Kara and Kerewe communities have positive attitudes toward their languages. The team recommends that although the Kara people may possibly be able to use literature from the nearby Jita language, they would also benefit from using literature in their own language if it is developed. For the Kerewe language the recommendation is that it be developed and literature produced, using the variety of Kerewe found in eastern Ukerewe Island.