Abesabesi Grammar

1.1.1 Naming the language

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Abesabesi is known as "Akpes" in literature. However, "Akpes" is the name of one of the four dialects (see Section 1.1.4) and is, therefore, not supported by the speakers as a name for the entire language. If asked to name their language, speakers usually use the dialect's name or the name of their settlement. Generally, a linguistic relation between the different dialects is not always perceived, as many speakers consider them dialects of Yoruba. This is probably rooted in the fact that most speakers consider themselves as Yoruba (see Section 1.1.6). The unity among the nine settlements has been promoted only recently by Dr. Taiwo Agoyi, a native speaker, professional linguist, and the main researcher on the language. In order to chose an acceptable term for the entirety of all four dialects, representatives of the nine communities have agreed on the term "Àbèsàbèsì" to denote the language. This meeting of representatives has become known as the "Àbèsàbèsì Language Development Committee" (see Section 1.1.6). Henceforth, the term has mainly been used by Agoyi. Speakers use it only scarcely but recognize it as a name for the language. It is used in some formal and semi-formal contexts such as in speeches at the local festivals, in language-related meetings and activities, and in names for social media groups dedicated to communicate in the language. "Àbèsàbèsì" is a reduplication of the word àbès meaning 'we'. The reduplicated form àbèsàbès signifies 'ourselves'.
Throughout this text, "Abesabesi" will be used to refer to the language and the people, as it is a term chosen by representatives of all communities speaking it. As all Yoruba and Abesabesi names and terms will be written without accent marks within this text to avoid spelling errors (see spelling conventions in Section 1.1.9), this also affects the term "Abesabesi". A list of all those terms with correct accent marks will also be given in Section 1.1.9. The spelling of "Abesabesi" also differs from the spelling that is used for Abesabesi language data within this text (see Section 2.6), where final deleted vowels are not written.