Dr. Uta Reuster-Jahn, Prof. Dr. Roland Kießling

Special issue: Lugha ya mitaani in Tanzania - the poetics and sociology of a young urban style of speaking

with a dictionary comprising 1100 words and phrases

Dokumente und Dateien


Bitte nutzen Sie beim Zitieren immer folgende Url:


Kurzfassung in Englisch

Swahili has been moulded in a long process by many factors over many centuries (Chiraghdin & Mnyampala 1977, Khalid 1977, Nurse & Spear 1985, Shariff 1973, Whiteley 1969). One of the latest chapters in its history is the standardisation and implementation as national and official language in Tanzania after independence.The National Swahili Council was given the task of further developing as well as guarding the standard form in textbooks for schools, in literature, in music texts, and in radio and television broadcasting. However, while Standard Swahili was taught in schools and writtenin books and newspapers, people in town quarters where Swahili was spoken developed and used a colloquial style of speech by enriching the standard form with “slang” expressions and lexemes.Recently, many people in Tanzania speak of “lugha za mitaani” (‘languages of the town quarters’, or ‘street languages’), using the plural to point to the fact that there exists a whole range of varieties of non-standard language, depending on local and social factors. The more recent development of lugha za mitaani reflects very much the social, economic, and political liberalisation in Tanzania, which started in the late 1980s. Little research has been done on the complex of these locally coloured colloquial Swahili variants, and we hope that our work will prepare the ground for further, more detailed studies. Since we acknowledge the existence of variants, we will use Lugha ya Mitaani (henceforth abbreviated LyM) to denote the phenomenon as such, whereas we will apply the term Lugha za Mitaani (henceforth abbreviated LzM) when we speak of the complex of variants.The primary characteristic of lugha za mitaani in general is that they deviate from Standard Kiswahili by their special lexicon which is in a constant process of rapid renovation. This is done by way of deliberate manipulation of existing lexical items, as an expression of an attitude of jocular and provocative violation of linguistic norms.Looking into the linguistic makeup, it is quite clear that Lugha ya Mitaani is not an independent language, but a sociolect or register of Kiswahili. The geographical centre of the ongoing creation and recreation of linguistic elements is Dar es Salaam. From there the linguistic items spread very quickly into the interior and reach even remote places such as Nachingwea (Lindi region) and Kurio (Dodoma region), where we conducted our research. The remarkably high mobility of the youth in Tanzania plays a crucial role in this process, but also the media, especially music, radio, video, and the yellow press contribute a lot to the rapid diffusion of Lugha ya Mitaani-terms.
This article is based on research conducted in Tanzania between 2000 and 2006 and approaches the phenomenon of Lugha ya Mitaani from different angles. A substantial part of the field research was lexicographic in nature, complemented by ethnographic methods (see chapter two). The analysis focuses on form, function, mediation and general comparative sociolinguistic issues of Lugha ya Mitaani.

weitere Metadaten

Erschienen in Swahili-Forum - 13.2005
Swahili, Lugha ya Mitaani, Tansania, Jugendsprache
Swahili, Lugha ya Mitaani, Tanzania, youth language
SWD SchlagworteSwahili, Jugendsprache, Tansania, Slang
DDC Klassifikation496
Beteiligte Institution(en) 
HochschuleUniversität Hamburg
HochschuleUniversität Mainz
FakultätInstitut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)14.08.2012
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-91181
QuelleSwahili Forum 13 (2006), S. 1-196
Inhaltsverzeichnis1. Introduction: Lugha ya Mitaani 1
1.1 History of colloquial non-standard Swahili speech forms 1
1.2 Special forms of Lugha ya Mitaani 4
1.2.1 Campus Swahili 5
1.2.2 Secret codes derived from Swahili 5
1.2.3 Lugha ya vijana wa vijiweni 6
1.2.4 The language of daladalas 8
1.3 Overview of the article 9
2. Methodology 10
2.1 Field research 10
2. 2 Acknowledgements 12
2. 3 The making of the dictionary 12
3. Sociolinguistics of Lugha ya Mitaani 13
3.1 Lugha ya Mitaani as youth language 13
3.2 Knowledge, use and attitudes 14
3.3 Diachronic aspects of Lugha ya Mitaani 17
4. Lexical elaboration 18
4.1 Humans and social relations 20
4.1.1 Humans 20
4.1.2 Women 21
4.1.3 Men 23
4.1.4 Homosexuals 23
4.1.5 Social relationship 24
4.1.6 Social status 24
4.2 Communication 24
4.3 Body & Appearance 25
4.4 Economy, Money & Occupation 26
4.5 Sex 27
4.6 Drugs & Alcohol 28
4.7 Movement & Vehicles 28
4.8 Evaluative terms 29
4.9 Experience 30
4.10 Trouble & Violence 30
4.11 Crime & Police 30
4.12 Food 31
4.13 Disease 31
4.14 Geography & Place 32
4.15 Education 32
4.16 Sports 33
4.17 Weapons 33
4.18 Cultural innovation 33
4.19 Time 33
5. The poetic making of Lugha ya Mitaani 34
5.1 Hyperbole and dysphemism 35
5.2 Humoristic effects 37
5.3 Metaphors 39
5.4 Cognitive motivation 41
5.5 Onomastic synecdoche 43
5.6 Multiple semantic extensions 44
5.7 Folk etymologies 45
5.8 Phraseologisms 46
5.9 Manipulations of form 50
5.10 Donor languages 52
6. The construction of youth identities in discourse practice 53
7. Lugha ya Mitaani and the media 60
8. Lugha ya Mitaani in a historical perspective 66
8.1 Lugha ya Mitaani in contrast to other phenomena of language birth 67
8.1.1 Pidginisation and creolisation 67
8.1.2 Codeswitching 67
8.1.3 Lugha ya Mitaani and Sheng 70
8.2 Semantic change 75
8.3 Sociosymbolic change 76
9. Conclusion 78
Abbreviations 79
Bibliography 80
Appendix 1: Lugha ya Mitaani texts written by John Degera 88
Appendix 2: Diachronic change in the campus lexicon at Teacher
Training College Nachingwea 90
Appendix 3: Dictionary of Lugha ya Mitaani 93

Hinweis zum Urheberrecht

Diese Website ist eine Installation von Qucosa - Quality Content of Saxony!
Sächsische Landesbibliothek Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden