Presented To

Department of Arts

This work documents the results and findings obtained from a series of sociolinguistic investigations conducted in the speech communities of Bache and Pan, located respectively in Bassa and Quan-Pan Local Government Areas of Plateau State, Nigeria. In broad outline, it was aimed at highlighting some salient features of the dialectological ecology in these two language communities. In specific terms, it sought to determine and to assess the degree of mutual intelligibility and intercomprehension existing between a numbers of dialectal variants previously reported within these two communities. Utilizing such key research instruments as Lexicostatistical Wordlists (LW), Recorded Text Testing (RTT) materials and equipment, written sociolinguistic questionnaires and verbal interview checklists, the study collected data concerning reported and tested levels of dialect intercomprehension, language use in both public and private domains, language attitudes toward both written and oral speech forms of Bache and Pan, reported levels of bilingualism in various languages, as well as education and literacy levels. Considerable amounts of sociolinguistic data were generated and results subsequently collated for each of the above-mentioned categories, with emphasis on approximate levels of dialect intelligibility and intercomprehension as well as associated level of community attitudes and interest in overall literacy and language development. Through careful scrutiny and statistical computations of percentages of lexical similarity and empirical testing and assessment of dialect intercomprehension amongst sampled field respondents, the study data and results showed that the four variants of Bache investigated sufficiently met conventional lexicostatistical and dialect intelligibility criteria to be considered as viable members of a single consolidated language entity. The findings from the four dialectal variants of Pan investigated also revealed that they were, to varying degrees, mutually intelligible to one another. The study results also do not reveal any far-reaching evidence of language shift towards other languages within the immediate sociocultural environments. Finally, attitudes toward the future developmental prospects of both Bache and Pan were also generally observed to be relatively strong and positive, in spite of the natural advent of modern cultural values and practices within many ethno-linguistic communities in Plateau State in particular and Nigeria in general


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