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Kpelle belongs to the southwestern branch of Mande, Niger-Congo. (Webbook)
Ethnologue lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Kpelle
No formal dialect survey is known to us. Dwyer reports (personal communication, 1983) that Kpelle displays dialectal variations from east to west. Welmers (personal communication, 1986) elaborates as follows: "Speakers of southwestern dialects have considerable difficulty, at first, in communicating with Guineans, [however,] ... after some practice, mutual intelligibility is pretty good." (Webbook)
Kpelle of Guinea and Kpelle of Liberia are different enough to need separate materials. (Ethnologue)
SIL International calls Kpelle a "macrolanguage" under which Kpelle of Guinea and Kpelle of Liberia are listed as separate languages.
Kpelle is a local language in Guinea and Liberia. It is broadcast in Liberia. (Webbook)
Ethnologue says it is an "official regional language" in Guinea and that it is taught in schools there.
Although various orthographies exist, no authorized standard currently exists. However, the orthography developed in the Welmers (1955) materials is, according to Welmers, "pretty much the only orthography known to native speakers." (Webbook)
However, Guinea established an orthography in the 1960s. This may have been replaced in the late 1980s with one using extended characters from the Bamako orthography (see LatinScript).
Alphabets as reported by Hartell (1993):
NUKAN MAAMƐNI YƐNƐYII ƁO PƐLƐ HU (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Kpelewo Version) http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/gkp1.htm
Not aware of any efforts in this area.
Kpelle, Guinea (Guerzé)
Kpelle is another case where some kinds of localisation could be done on the cluster or "macrolanguage" level. At such time as locale data is compiled for this language, it should be discussed whether to begin with a locale for "kpe" with country specifications for Liberia and Guinea.
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Kpelle, Guinea," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=gkp
______, "Kpelle, Liberia," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=xpe
SIL International, "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: kpe," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/documentation.asp?id=kpe
______, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
______, "ISO 639-3 Macrolangauge Mappings," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/macrolanguages.asp
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
Wikipedia, "Kpelle language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kpelle_language