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 ?
To be sure, Ntarangwi, like the Mazruis, is revisiting a controversy that was sparked by earlier ethnographic studies by Dutch-Flemish scholars about Swahili language, society, and culture, which has since been the subject of very animated scholarship in the last two decades.
Tanzanian playwright and scholar, one of the first female dramatists in the Swahili language.
In addition to Jones, powerful and often odious personalities are drawn by Morton: Price comes off best, for he does at least support Jones against the other missionaries and alone among them seems capable of running Frere Town; Streeter is the harsh missionary whose bitterness clouds his capacity to recognise talent among his staff; while Rebmann is the scholarly one who prefers not to evangelize and spends most of his time studying Swahili language and culture in relative comfort away from his mission at Rabai; Binns is young, relatively innocent and ineffective; and so on.
We have no room for gays and those others," Ruto told a Nairobi church congregation in the national Swahili language, according to an online video posted by Kenyan broadcaster KTN.
East African- born Omanis prefer Tanzanian housemaids over Asian domestic workers because of the common background and the Swahili language, which is widely spoken in Oman.
There are comprehensive listings of hotels and guesthouses for visitors, the arts, crafts, music, dance and festivals of the islands; expert coverage of their natural history including birds, mammals, marine life and flora; a section on the Swahili language; and recommendations for websites and resources for further research.
He added: 'They are ready to learn the local Swahili language and work for the people.
Fluent in Swahili language, the duo moved crowds with their idioms and riddles to drive home anti-Moi sentiments.
The group of friends that set up Ushahidi -- which means "to witness" in Kenya's Swahili language -- have seen their concept become a worldwide success, used in conflict and disaster zones, and again in Kenya ahead of March 4 polls.
This book was published in Tubingen in 1850; Bishop Edward Steer wrote A Handbook of the Swahili language as Spoken in Zanzibar.