Documenting Àbèsàbèsì

Documenting Àbèsàbèsì

Language: Àbèsàbèsì (ISO639-3:ibe)
Depositor: Jonas Lau
Location: Nigeria
Deposit Id: 0555
Grant id: SG0515
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
Àbèsàbèsì - often referred to as Akpes in literature - is a minority language spoken by approximately 10000 people in South-Western Nigeria. A gradual shift towards the regional lingua franca Yoruba is favored by rapid urbanization and unfavorable language attitudes. This project will be based in a town called Ikaramu (Ondo State) to document the language and create an audio-visual corpus with time-aligned transcriptions. The corpus will feed into an electronic reference grammar of the Àbèsàbèsì language, which will be developed as a case study.

Group represented
The collection will focus on speakers of Àbèsàbèsì. As the project will be based in Ikaramu, most recordings will be in the local variety, called Èkiròmì. Àbèsàbèsì-speaking people, along with many other minority peoples of the region, have integrated into the Yoruba socio-cultural milieu (Oyetade 2004). This is also reflected by the speakers' attitudes towards Àbèsàbèsì. Young people prefer Yoruba to Abesabesi and intergenerational transmission is at risk of ceasing altogether (Agoyi 2014:4). Yoruba is generally perceived more positively by the population. This is reflected by the superior proficiency in Yoruba compared with Abesabesi (Oyetade 2004:536). Both, the looming discontinuance of intergenerational transmission and unfavorable language attitudes are causing a gradual shift towards Yoruba that is endangering Abesabesi. The endangerment of Abesabesi is additionally increased by rapid urbanization. Referenceds: Agoyi, Taiwo Opeyemi. 2014. Àbèsàbèsì Language Documentation and Maintenance. The International Journal Of Engineering And Science 3(7). 1–7. Oyetade, S. O. (2004). Language Endangerment in Nigeria: Perspectives with the Akpes Cluster of Akoko Languages. In A. Akinlabi & O. Adesola (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th World Congress of African Linguistics New Brunswick 2003. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.

Language information
Àbèsàbèsì is a minority language of South-Western Nigeria. It is spoken in nine villages in the Akoko North East and Akoko North West Governmental Areas of Ondo State by around 10,000 speakers. Àbèsàbèsì is the endonym to refer to the language that is commonly called Akpes in the literature. It is attributed to the Benue-Congo language branch of the Niger-Congo phylum. A more specific genetic affiliation, however, is controversial due to the lack of previous documentation and description.

Special characteristics

Deposit contents

For this deposit, the planned scope is:

  • 47h of elicitations
  • 8h of oral transcriptions
  • 27h of monological texts
  • 29h of dialogues, oratory, cerimonial speech and verbal art
  • 2h recording of informed consent session

Of these 113 hours:

  • 68h will be audio-visual, while the remaining 45h will be audio only
  • 18 hours - 10h will be transcribed and translated
  • 8h will be transcribed, translated and annotated

As no fieldtrip has yet been undertaken, these figures are only estimates.

Deposit history

Other information

Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Jonas Lau as the principal investigator, the data collector and the researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by name(s). Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.

To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite as follows: Lau, Jonas. 2019. Documentation of Àbèsàbèsì. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive, ELAR. URL:[insert URL here](accessed on [insert date here]).


Collection online
Resources online and curated


Jonas Lau
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Affiliation: Universität zu Köln

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2020 November 28 to 2020 November 28
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
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Showing 1 - 10 of 359 Items

A story about the animals getting rid of the elephant

Recorded on: 2019-03-15

A story about the tortoise's wife becoming arrogant

Recorded on: 2019-03-22

Before the New Yam Festival: Abogi dances performed by girls to showcase the Abogi tradition that used to take place in December

Recorded on: 2019-07-20

Elicitation of a few adjectives and phrases including adjectives. Adjectives are elicited in predicative and attributive use. Combinations of adjectives with possessives, other adjectives and quantifiers. Comparison.

Recorded on: 2019-01-21

An elicitation of adjectives in predicative and attributive use. Also some intensifiers, comparison and verbs like become, stay, and stop being with adjective.

Recorded on: 2019-03-01

Recorded on: 2019-08-26

Questionnaire 'The internal structure of adverbial Clauses' by Kees Hengeveld.

Recorded on: 2019-08-19

This is an elicitation of basic everyday phrases in Àbèsàbèsì. List inspired by Sophie Salffner's Bundle "Survival Ikaan" in deposit 0034. Alhaji Bashiru often uses àbí (Yor: or) or English 'or' before the Èkìròm sentence to indicate an alternative way of saying it. Be aware of it when listening to the sentences.

Recorded on: 2019-01-23

Elicitation of basic phrases II with some additional sentences. She wrote her sentences down in Ekirom. Includes pictures of her notes.

Recorded on: 2019-07-25

Elicitation of a second set of basic phrases.

Recorded on: 2019-01-29