A sociolinguistic survey of the Mambay language of Chad and Cameroon

Statement of Responsibility:
Hamm, Cameron

This paper presents data from a sociolinguistic survey conducted in the Mambay speech community of Cameroon and Chad. The survey was designed to provide language planners with information about this community in order to determine how they can best encourage language development in the region.

Mambay is a part of the Mbum group of languages (Niger-Congo, Adamawa) and its closest relation is to Mundang and Tupuri.

The data presented includes a general overview of the previous linguistic literature and a description of the geographic area and population, as well as results of interviews, word list comparison, and individual comprehension testing. These results concern comprehension of Mundang, language use and vitality, bilingualism, and attitudes toward both written and oral forms of Mundang. In addition, information by local leaders on the literacy and religious situations is included.

Word list results show a very distant relationship between Mambay and Mundang, leaving some question as to genetic affiliation. Additionally, the individual comprehension test results show that Mambay speakers have a very low level of comprehension of Mundang. Acceptance of Mundang is low, with a strong preference for Mambay in most areas. There are no indications of language shift now or in the near future. It is recommended that Mambay should be developed and literacy be encouraged in the region.

33 pages
Language surveys
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