Language - Swahili language

Language  >  Swahili language

Swahili language

Swahili, also known as Kiswahili (translation: language of the Swahili people), is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Comorian, spoken in the Comoros Islands is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Swahili, though other authorities consider it a distinct language.

The exact number of Swahili speakers, be it native or second-language speakers, is unknown and a matter of debate. Various estimates have been put forward and they vary widely, from 50 million to over 100 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC. Shikomor, the official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is related to Swahili. Swahili is also one of the working languages of the African Union and officially recognised as a lingua franca of the East African Community. South Africa legalized the teaching of Swahili in South African schools as an optional subject beginning in 2020.

A significant fraction of Swahili vocabulary derives from Arabic, in part conveyed by Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants. For example, the Swahili word for "book" is kitabu, traceable back to the Arabic word كتاب kitābu (from the root k-t-b "write"). However, the Swahili plural form of this word ("books") is vitabu, following Bantu grammar in which ki- is reanalysed as a nominal class prefix, whose plural is vi-.

Swahili is a Bantu language of the Sabaki branch. In Guthrie's geographic classification, Swahili is in Bantu zone G, whereas the other Sabaki languages are in zone E70, commonly under the name Nyika. Local folk-theories of the language have often considered Swahili to be a mixed language because of its many loan words from Arabic, and the fact that Swahili people have historically been Muslims. However, historical linguists do not consider the Arabic influence on Swahili to be significant enough to classify it as a mixed language, since Arabic influence is limited to lexical items, most of which have only been borrowed after 1500, while the grammatical and syntactic structure of the language is typically Bantu.

Country

Kenya

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya (Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Africa with 47 semiautonomous counties governed by elected governors. At 580,367 km2, Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and a critical inland port at Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.

Nilotic-speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day Southern Sudan into Kenya around 500 BC. European colonisation of Kenya began in the 19th century during the European exploration of the interior. The modern-day Kenya emerged from a protectorate established by the British Empire in 1895 and the subsequent Kenya Colony, which began in 1920. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colony led to the Mau Mau revolution, which began in 1952, and the subsequent declaration of independence in 1963. After independence, Kenya remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The current constitution was adopted in 2010 to replace the 1963 independence constitution.

Rwanda

Rwanda (U Rwanda ), officially the Republic of Rwanda (Repubulika y'u Rwanda; Swahili: Jamhuri ya Rwanda; République du Rwanda), is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages. The sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.

Uganda

Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda (Jamhuri ya Uganda), is a landlocked country (except for its borders with Lake Victoria and Lake Albert) in East-Central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.

Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.

Language

Swahili language (English)  Lingua swahili (Italiano)  Swahili (Nederlands)  Swahili (Français)  Swahili (Deutsch)  Língua suaíli (Português)  Суахили (Русский)  Idioma suajili (Español)  Suahili (Polski)  斯瓦希里语 (中文)  Swahili (Svenska)  Limba swahili (Română)  スワヒリ語 (日本語)  Суахілі (Українська)  Суахили (Български)  스와힐리어 (한국어)  Swahilin kieli (Suomi)  Bahasa Swahili (Bahasa Indonesia)  Suahilių kalba (Lietuvių)  Swahili (Dansk)  Svahilština (Česky)  Svahili (Türkçe)  Свахили (Српски / Srpski)  Suahiili keel (Eesti)  Swahilčina (Slovenčina)  Szuahéli nyelv (Magyar)  Svahili (Hrvatski)  ภาษาสวาฮีลี (ไทย)  Svahili (Slovenščina)  Svahili (Latviešu)  Σουαχίλι γλώσσα (Ελληνικά)  Tiếng Swahili (Tiếng Việt) 
 mapnall@gmail.com