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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2011-011

The Dialects of Baraïn (East Chadic)

Author  Lovestrand, Joseph
Abstract  The Baraïn language is spoken in the Guera region of Chad (East Chadic, B3; or “Barein” [bva]). This community of approximately 6,000 speakers divide themselves into four distinct subgroups: Jalkiya, Giliya, Jalking, and Komiya. While two of the four are geographically and linguistically very close to one another (Jalkiya and Giliya), the other two speak dialects of the language that differ lexically and phonologically to such a degree that intercomprehension is not normally possible. In this situation, the speakers of these subgroups communicate with each another exclusively in Chadian Arabic—the language of wider communication. Wordlists gathered from each subgroup serve as the basis of this preliminary examination of the differences in each speech variety. The description covers phonological segments, tone, syllable structures, distribution of consonants, and lexical differences. One outstanding phonological feature is that none of the dialects have a bilabial implosive and only one has an alveolar implosive. Both of these segments were previously assumed to be universal in Chadic languages. This research was done in the context of a mother-tongue literacy program and draws the conclusion that two of the Baraïn varieties may be able to share literacy materials (Jalkiya and Giliya). However, the other two subgroups will undoubtedly need to develop separate materials.
  The Dialects of Baraïn (East Chadic)
Published  2011
Language  Barein [bva]
Country  Chad
Subject  Comparative and historical studies
Keywords  Barein; Chad; East Chadic; Guera; dialects; lexical similarity; wordlist; phonology; implosive; syllable