Dr. Abet Y. Mreta, Dr. H.R.T. Muzale

Nafasi ya Kiswahili katika lugha ya alama ya Tanzania

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

Sign language in Tanzania is a relatively new field of linguistics that is yet to attract many researchers and linguists in particular Tanzanian Sign Language (TSL) functions as a unifying tool for the deaf in the country and, probably, beyond. This language, which is still at its early stage of development, is used in the same linguistic environment with Kiswahili, the national language, which is more established. The situation leaves TSL disadvantaged and is thus likely to cause a one-way linguistic influence, from Kiswahili to TSL. This paper, therefore, examines the nature and impact of the situation. Firstly, it focuses on the question of whether or not TSL is an independent language that has developed as a seperate language, quite distinct from the spoken languages of the communities that surround it, especially Kiswahili. Secondly, it examines the extent to which Kiswahili has influenced TSL and thus the role that the former plays in learning and developing the latter. The results of the study show that Kiswahili has had some influence on TSL but the influence is marginal at lexical level. Of all the signs studied, only 13% were directly related to Kiswahili. The majority of the signs studied were found to be iconic in nature, but only 12% of all signs were semantically transparent. Even in these cases where the signs are transparent, the transparency of the signs is not based on one`s knowledge of Kiswahili. Most of the transparent signs are common gestures that any person of any ethnic origin can interpret. The study has thus established that TSL is more of a sign language than signed language. It is an indigenous African sign language, unrelated to the Western Sign Languages, except for the manual alphabet. Finally, the study predicts that much of the transperancy and iconicity in TSL will gradually fade away as the language develops across time, space, and generations.

weitere Metadaten

Erschienen in Swahili-Forum - 8.2001
Swahili, Gebärdensprache, Tansania, Linguistik
Swahili, sign language, Tanzania, linguistics
SWD SchlagworteSwahili, Gebärdensprache, Linguistik, Tansania
DDC Klassifikation496
Beteiligte Institution(en) 
HochschuleUniversity of Dar es Salaam
FakultätDepartment of Foreign Languages and Linguistic
HochschuleUniversität zu Köln
FakultätInstitut für Afrikanistik
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)15.10.2012
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-95041
QuelleSwahili Forum; 8 (2001), S. 67-79

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