Swahili language

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Swahili language,

member of the Bantu group of African languages (see African languagesAfrican languages,
geographic rather than linguistic classification of languages spoken on the African continent. Historically the term refers to the languages of sub-Saharan Africa, which do not belong to a single family, but are divided among several distinct linguistic stocks.
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 and Bantu languagesBantu languages,
group of African languages forming a subdivision of the Benue-Niger division of the Niger-Congo branch of the Niger-Kordofanian language family (see African languages).
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). Swahili is spoken by 30 million people, chiefly in Tanzania, Kenya, Congo (Kinshasa), Burundi, and Uganda, and serves as a lingua franca for additional millions in E Africa, including Europeans, Arabs, and Indians as well as Africans. It is also now the official language of Kenya and Tanzania and has the largest number of speakers of the Bantu group of languages. Although grammatically a Bantu tongue, Swahili has been greatly influenced by Arabic, from which it has borrowed many words. It is the vehicle of a noteworthy literature that goes back to the beginning of the 18th cent. and is written in a form of the Arabic alphabet. In the second half of the 19th cent., missionaries introduced the Roman alphabet for recording Swahili. Since then writing has flourished, and some native authors of distinction have appeared.


See E. C. Polomé, Swahili Language Handbook (1967); E. N. Myachina,The Swahili Language (1981).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The decision to adopt Kiswahili was announced at the recent 39th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of SADC, which took place in Tanzanian at Julius Nyerere International Centre.
Various scholars have pointed to L1 interference as the source of Kiswahili spelling errors (Msanjila, 2005; Norrish, 1987 & Richards, 1971).
As a result, the image of the woman as a mother is most common in many Kiswahili literary works.
I thought further about his schooling in a church-owned kindergarten, as well as the socialisation at home, where we deliberately chose to teach Tumaini (his name means "hope" in Kiswahili) indigenous Kenyan languages since he was going to learn English in school anyway.
The northern Mozambican Muslim population has used the Arabic script for communication purposes among the coastal communities where KiSwahili remained dominant amidst some of the significant local variants such as Ekoti (the language of the Angoche's Koti people [see Schadeberg & Mucanheia 2000]), Esangaji (the language of the Sangage people [see Lyndon 2007; Schadeberg 1997]), or KiMwani (see Rzewuski 1979; Schadeberg & Mous 1994: 239-244; Petzell 2002: 88-110).
Kidogo translates as "little" in kiswahili, McGrory drawing on her time in East Africa when she worked for environmental groups.
KISWAHILI looks to be a typical late-season Sir Mark Prescott horse and she can open her 2005 account at Ayr.
Sir Mark Prescott won with Strudel at Ayr yesterday and looks set for another success, courtesy of Kiswahili in the Racing UK Handicap.
Kiswahili is the common language in the community," Mr Thoya added.
He said the "unofficial" languages should only be used when a service seeker is not conversant with either English or Kiswahili.