Alimi speaking Baatonu

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This video was recorded by Alimi in Lagos, Nigeria. Baatonum, otherwise known as Bariba, is a member of the Niger-Congo language family, in the Savannas or Gur-Adamawa branch. It has approximately 996,000 speakers as of 2016, mostly in Benin, but also across the border into Western Nigeria. It is a tonal language, with four contrastive tones - top, high, middle, and low - but the way its tones interact presents a challenge to the Two-Feature model of tonal phonology, making it somewhat unique among tonal languages. Baatonum is a national language in Benin. As such, a 2003 National Literacy and Adult Education Policy allows for it to be used to promote speakers’ culture and political involvement. However, a lack of resources has hindered the implementation of this policy and associated literacy programs. Nonetheless, the language has been taught in some primary schools since 2013, and is used in work and mass media, though without official status.

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Baatonum [bba]


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