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Kei

A language of Indonesia (Maluku)

ISO 639-3kei

Population  85,000 (2000 SIL). 4,500 monolinguals.
Region  Southeast Maluku, Kei Kecil, Kei Besar, surrounding islands, except Banda Eli and Banda Elat villages on Kei Besar; Kur Islands, where Kei is a lingua franca. About 207 villages on about 10 islands.
Language map  Indonesia, Southern Maluku
Alternate names   Kai, Saumlaki, Veveu Evav
Dialects  Kei Kecil, Kei Besar, Tayando, Tanimbar Kei (Atnebar), Ta’am. Kei Kecil is the prestigious urban dialect. Kei Besar speakers usually also know Kei Kecil, but not vice versa. Kei Besar is more similar to Fordata [frd] than other Kei dialects. Tanimbar Kei is spoken in only one village. Lexical similarity: 60% with Fordata.
Classification  Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Southeast Maluku, Kei-Tanimbar, Kei-Fordata
Language use  Trade language of Banda [bnd], Kur [kuv], and outsiders such as ethnic Chinese and Butonese who live in Kei. Fairly vigorous use. Banda and Kur use Kei as L2. All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Also use Indonesian [ind] or Banda.
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: 100 can read, 10 can write. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. 100 can read, 10 can write. Used informally in school for explanations. Dictionary. Grammar.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Agriculturalists: millet, tapioca, corn; copra production; fishermen. Muslim, Christian, traditional religion.
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