Currently the Ethnologue lists Kala as being spoken in: Morobe Province, Huon Gulf south coast, between Salamaua and Kui, Paiawa river. 10 villages. However, this information is incorrect. Kala is spoken in 6 villages between Salamaua and Kui. These are: Manidala (also known as Kela), Lambu (also known as Laugui), Apoze (also known as Laukanu or Lokanu), Kamiali (also known as Lababia or Kamu Yali), Alẽso (also known as Buso) and Kui.
We will update our information on the location of Kala [kcl] speakers in Papua New Guinea for the 19th edition.
Threatened and/or Shifting
Currently, the Kala Language is listed as 6a- Vigorous - "The language is used for face-to-face communication by all generations and the situation is sustainable". However, as the linguistic anthropologist who has been working in collaboration with the Kala Language Committee (individuals from all six Kala speaking villages who are concerned about language shift in their villages) since 2010, I am writing to the Ethnologue on behalf of the Kala Language Committee in order that Kala's status be updated to actual current use. Kala is between stages 6b - Threatened - "The language is used for face-to-face communication within all generations, but it is losing users" and 7 - Shifting - "The child-bearing generation can use the language among themselves, but it is not being transmitted to children", depending on the village in question. In particular, the village of Manindala (also known as Kela on PNG maps) has reached the stage of Threatened because, in general, children in this village grow up speaking Tok Pisin rather than Kala and a high level of language shift is occurring here. Medium to high levels of language shift are also occurring in the villages of Kui and Lambu (also known as Laugui on PNG maps), and even in the villages where Kala is most spoken, Alẽso (also known as Buso on PNG maps) and Kamiali (also known as Lababia on PNG maps) medium language shift is occurring. In fact, when using the six factors to analyse a language’s vitality developed by the UNESCO Ad Hoc Group on Endangered Languages has developed six factors to analyze a language’s vitality, including: 1) Intergenerational Language Transmission; 2) Absolute Number of Speakers; 3) Proportion of Speakers within the Total Population; 4) Shifts in Domains of Language Use; 5) Response to New Domains and Media; and 6) Availability of Materials for Language Education and Literacy, Kala can be considered definitively endangered (see Schreyer, Christine (Submitted). Reflections on the Kala Biŋatuwã, a three year old alphabet, from Papua New Guinea. Paper submitted to the edited volume on “Orthography Development for Endangered Languages” from Cambridge University Press on April 1st, 2015). Finally, Kala should be considered Threatened or Shifting not only on the basis of the academic criteria, but due to the fact that the Kala villagers themselves are concerned about language shift and have developed the Kala Language Committee (two men and one woman from each Kala village) in order to raise awareness about Kala language shift and to encourage more Kala use, particularly in elementary schools, and to document ecological knowledge in their mother tongue since the pidgin language of Tok Pisin, lacks specificity in this regard.