This paper describes a synchronic analysis of grammatical features elicited among the Gbe language varieties of West Africa, conducted to explore how the investigated varieties might be treated as clusters and to establish priorities for further sociolinguistic research. For some of the investigated varieties, the current synchronic typological analysis yields a classification within the Gbe language continuum that differs from the findings of more recent sociolinguistic surveys conducted among some of the Gbe communities as well as from the findings of Capo's (1991) and Stewart's (1994) diachronic genetic analyses. The paper discusses how the results of these different approaches compare to each other, how the identified disparities should be weighted, and what conclusions can be drawn from these findings.
Rather than setting these approaches in opposition to each other, this paper proposes a multifaceted approach to linguistic data interpretation. The paper exemplifies how the results obtained through the synchronic typological analysis may be used to inform more in-depth sociolinguistic research by comparing its results to the findings of diachronic genetic studies and Rapid Appraisal sociolinguistic surveys. This approach would in turn directly influence language program development decisions as to the extensibility of already existing literature.
© Walter de Gruyter