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Cabécar Language Overview
Cabécar is an Amerindian language spoken by about 15,000 Indians in southeastern Costa Rica (see detailed map of Costa Rican Cabécar and Bribrí Reserves with 2000 census figures; note that ethnic census figures outside of the reservation are not known). Cabécar is a member of the Chibchan language family of Central America and Columbia. About 80% of the people are monolingual, and 20% are bilingual in Spanish at differing levels.
Bible translation has been progressing in the language since the 1950's (see discussion of Scriptures available). The people have been heavily evangelized, especially on the perimeter of the reservations, but most of the church services are conducted in Spanish. While many more Cabécars need to hear the gospel, especially in their own language and with an awareness of their current worldview, as a people group they are well beyond the status of being an "unreached people" according to missiological indicators. The Joshua Project classifies them as a 3.2 "Emerging Church" with more than 5% evangelicals and accelerating growth of new fellowships. The IMB classifies them as a 4 on a 0-6 scale with greater than 2% evangelicals (just above the unreached peoples status).
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