Swahili Loanwords and their Semantic Nativisations into African Languages

Authors

  • Amani Lusekelo

Abstract

Traditionally, contributions of loanwords to the morphology of most African languages are recognizable in terms of phoneme inventories, consonant clusters, and syllable structures. The present paper, however, articulates the semantic and pragmatic issues emanating from the Swahili loanwords into the morphology of most African languages in Tanzania. The focus is mainly on the influence of Swahili into the different semantic fields in ten Bantu languages in the country. Data of 500 lexical words is drawn from a sample of Bantu languages in the country. Formal interviews had also been conducted to decipher semantic and pragmatic inferences springing out of the usages of those loanwords in the respective speech communities. It is concluded that most semantic fields of loanwords include education, utensils and domestic tools, as well as health and medical care services. In addition, pragmatically, some loanwords divide communities according to their usages, e.g. in Ruhaya and Runyambo, the entries for church include ekerezía [<ecclesia, ecclesiae Latin] which is dominantly used for Roman Catholic churches while ekanisa [<kanisa, Swahili] is used by Lutheran churches.

Author Biography

Amani Lusekelo

Dar es Salaam University College of Education

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Published

2013-01-14