The Sociolinguistic Situation of the Galeya Language Group
Between 13 February and 12 March 2004, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) conducted a survey of the Galeya language, which is spoken on the east coast of Fergusson Island in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. The goals of the survey were (1) to identify dialect boundaries within the language; (2) to investigate language vitality, particularly as indicated by language change and bilingualism; and (3) to determine the extent to which the Galeya people could potentially participate in the development of their language, based on levels of education in the area. The team conducted sociolinguistic interviews to assess vitality, used self-evaluation questionnaires to evaluate proficiency in Dobu and English, and elicited wordlists for lexicostatistical comparison. Four distinct dialects (Galeya, Basima, Ulua, and Gameta) were identified, but all four dialects can reportedly understand the central Basima dialect. The Galeya language appears to be vital, and there are educated individuals in the area who could potentially be involved in language development.