|Native to||South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Region||(SS) West Equatoria |
(DRC) Haut-Uele Avukaya
|(40,000 in South Sudan (2002)|
25,000 in DRC cited 1989)
Avokaya (also spelled Abukeia, Avukaya, or, in Arabic script, ابوكية) is a Central Sudanic language spoken in southern South Sudan and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Avokaya speakers occupy a contiguous area along both sides of the international boundary, with Maridi in South Sudan and Faradje in Congo as the main centres of the language. In 2002, the number of Avokaya speakers in South Sudan was estimated to be 40,000, replacing the inaccurate 1982 estimate of 15,000. However, the 1989 estimate of 25,000 speakers in the Congo still stands.
Avokaya's two main dialects are Ajugu, which is spoken in the border area of the two countries south of Maridi, and Ojila, which is spoken in the region between the Naam (Era) and Olo rivers, and slightly east of there. These two dialects are spoken in both countries, with the smaller dialects of Northern Ogambi and Avokaya Pur spoken only in the Faradje region, Congo. Avokaya is closest to Logo, especially in the Northern Ogambi dialect (whereas the Ogambi dialect is a dialect of Logo rather than Avokaya. A high degree of code switching exists among Avokaya and Logo speakers in the Faradje region.
In Maridi, there is much bilingualism and intermarriage with speakers of Baka (a West Central Sudanic language) and Mündü (an Ubangian language). Juba, Sudanese Arabic and English are used for wider communication by speakers in Sudan, while, in the Congo, speakers tend to use Swahili, Lingala and French.
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