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EGIDS level too high

René van den Berg, Mon, 2015-04-06 23:29
Language Use
ISO 639-3: 

Based on a recent trip (Nov 2014) to the Kuman area within the context of Scripture Use Research (SURAM), it appears that EGIDS level 3 is too high. There is a NT in Kuman (though it is poorly used), but there is no other literature and there do not appear to be any elementary or primary schools that teach the vernacular. In two of three places the team visited, the younger generation was no longer using Kuman. The SURAM report on Kuman says the following: "The Ethnologue’s claim that Kuman is at EGIDS level 3 (Trade) is true in the sense that Kuman functions as an oral lingua franca for the whole Simbu province, in addition to Tok Pisin. The exact extent of the knowledge of Kuman in the province (and its role vis-à-vis Tok Pisin) remains to be investigated, but native speakers of other languages in the province (such as Chuave, Dom, Sinasina and Golin) all report a good grasp of Kuman. However, an EGIDS level 3 presupposes that all the requirements for levels 5 (Written/Incipient Literacy) and 4 (Educational) are met as well, such as sustainable literacy and institutional support for education in the minority language. This is clearly not the case in Kuman (see section 5.7 for details), and with the reported and observed shift to Tok Pisin happening in several areas, an EGIDS level of 6b (Threatened) is a better reflection of the current reality for Kuman."

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