Sheng: Rise of a Kenyan Swahili Vernacular [Hardback]

Chege Githiora(Author)

ISBN: 9781847012074 | Published by: James Currey | Year of Publication: 2018 | 236p, H9.25 x W6.25, 14 b/w, 12 line illus.
Status: In Stock - Available



The city of Nairobi is a rich context for the study of sociolinguistic phenomena. The coexistence of speakers of many different languages, further differentiated by socio-economic status, age and ethnicity provide conditions for the development of a mixed code such as Sheng, an urban variety of Kenyan Swahili which has morphed from a "youth language" into a vernacular of wider use. Sheng is a unique phenomenon in the study of linguistic change and innovation in an African context, a reflection of the ethnolinguistic diversity of Kenya, and language asymmetry created by socio-economic disparities. It also provides a window into understanding the processes of urban multilingualism, within the specific space structuring of Nairobi city.

This book is a detailed account of the rise and development of Sheng, its linguistic structure, social functions, and possible future directions. The author's analysis ofits presence in newspapers, TV, radio and online, makes it clear that Sheng functions as a particularly useful lens through which to explore contemporary Kenya.

Table of Contents

Sheng as Kenyan Swahili
An Overview of Language in Kenya: Power vs Solidarity
Nairobi: A Linguistic Mosaic and Crucible of Sheng
'Kenyan Swahili': Complex and Multifaceted
Some Features of Sheng
Expanded Domains and Global Influences
Sheng in Practice
Conclusion: The Rise of a Swahili Vernacular
Sheng Glossary

Reviews & Quotes

"The one definitive thing about the book is that Githiora attempts to demystify the language by emphasising its 'Swahiliness'. [.] Kenyan politicians and policymakers at the Ministry of Education should read Githiora's Sheng."


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