Sociolinguistic survey of the Safaliba language area

Statement of Responsibility:
Kluge, Angela and Deborah H. Hatfield

In 1979, a language survey was conducted among the Safaliba (Gur) language community of Ghana's Northern Region to test the level of Wali and Vagla comprehension. In 1995, a follow-up survey was conducted during which the present day sociolinguistic situation was examined giving special attention to assessing the comprehension of Gonja, since Gonja is the district language. The purpose of this survey was to help administrators of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) determine whether or not GILLBT would pursue a language development programme in Safaliba, or whether these communities should be linked to literacy efforts in a language other than Safaliba. This paper presents the findings from this current study.

Through the use of sociolinguistic questionnaires administered to community leaders and individuals, and by testing for comprehension, the survey collected data concerning tested levels of comprehension as well as reported levels of multilingualism, language learning environments, language use in various domains, language attitudes toward both written and oral forms, and education and literacy levels in three Safaliba communities. Special attention was given to possible indicators of language shift.

The results are given for each of the above mentioned categories as well as their implications for final conclusions. Overall, the results show low levels of tested comprehension, low reported bilingualism, and little use of Gonja. There were no indicators of imminent language shift.

83 pages
Language surveys
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