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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Social and Historical Factors Bearing on Dialect Boundaries in Southeastern Liberia
Author:McEvoy, Frederick D.
Periodical:Liberian Studies Journal
Geographic term:Liberia
Subjects:ethnic groups
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:There is an apparently close correspondence of distinctive dialects in the Kru-speaking region of southeastern Liberia with the 'traditional' boundaries of the many relatively small but autonomous polities that seem to have characterised the region prior to the establishment of Liberian and French colonial hegemony. The author reviews some of the factors or conditions (technology, settlement patterns) that may have contributed to the emergence, formation, or 'isolation' of seemingly distinctive dialects. In the case of the Sabo, examined in greater detail, the practice of predominantly intra-tribal marriage appears to have had the effect of reinforcing dialect boundaries. Finally, the author summarises some more recent economic, political, social and linguistic processes and conditions which appear to be counteracting the conditions that earlier tended to isolate quite localised linguistic communities, and which today may be contributing to the recoalescence of previously diverging dialects. Notes, ref., tab.