The Swahili Language

Kiswahili is the Swahili word for the Swahili language, and this is also sometimes used in English. The name Kiswahili comes from the plural sawāḥil (سواحل) of the Arabic word sāḥil (ساحل), meaning “boundary” or “coast”, used as an adjective meaning “coastal dwellers”. With the prefixki-, it means “coastal language”, ki- being a prefix attached to nouns of the noun class that includes languages.

The word Sahel, used for the border between the Sahara and Sudanian Savanna, is adapted from Arabic sāḥil. Kiswahili refers to the Swahili language; Waswahili refers to the people of the Swahili Coast; and Uswahili refers to the culture of the Swahili people.

Swahili or Kiswahili (known in Swahili itself as Kiswahili) is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia. Although only five million people speak Swahili as their mother tongue, it is used as a lingua franca in much of East Africa, meaning the total number of speakers exceeds 60 million. Swahili serves as a national, or official language, of five nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Swahili is a Bantu language that serves as a second language to various groups traditionally inhabiting parts of the East African coast. Some Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through more than twelve centuries of contact with Arabic-speaking inhabitants of the coast of southeastern Africa. It has also incorporated Persian, German, Portuguese, English and French words into its vocabulary through contact during the last five centuries. Swahili has become a second language spoken by tens of millions in three countries, Tanzania, Kenya, and Congo (DRC), where it is an official or national language. The neighboring nation of Uganda made Swahili a required subject in primary schools in 1992—although this mandate has not been well implemented—and declared it an official language in 2005 in preparation for the East African Federation. Swahili, or other closely related languages, is spoken by nearly the entire population of the Comoros and by relatively small numbers of people in Burundi, Rwanda, northern Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, and the language was still understood in the southern ports of the Red Sea and along the coasts of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf in the twentieth century. In the Guthrie non-genetic classification of Bantu languages, Swahili is included under Zone G.(Extract from Wikipedia)

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