Changing patterns of miltilingualism: a case study of Igunga in Tabora region

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study aimed at investigating the changing patterns of multilingualism found at Igunga speech community. It specifically sought t describe diachronically and synchronically the extent to which Swahili has been and is being used in conjunction with several other ethnic languages at Igunga speech community. It depicts language usage both at macro- and micro- sociolinguistic levels. The study was, as it were, a response to the repeated call by both academicians and politicians in this country to make “intensive” as expressed by Hamisi (1974). Results from such studies can be of much benefit for the enrichment and development of Swahili, our national language. Chapter one is the introductory chapter. It looks into the validity of selecting Igunga as ideal for this type of study. It gives the historical background and its linguistic situation. The problems to be investigated are presented and the purpose and significance of the study are shown. Chapter two deals with the theoretical background on multilingualism. It surveys related literature and what has already been done on their topic. The norms which cause the occurrence of different patterns of language usage are given. Chapter five gives the effects of multilingualism: codex mixing, code-switching and interference as they are revealed in the textual data. In conclusion, it was claimed that the effects of multilingualism just cited give rise to vernacularized Swahili pidgins and dialects which can act as stumbling block to the smooth intelligible communication between people. They can also hamper standardisation and development of Swahili and its correct usage. However, it was suggested that more sociolinguistic researches such as this one are needed to give a true sociolinguistic situation in Tanzania. To alleviate some of the problems of Swahili usage, it has been suggested that frequent campaigns should be launched to educate the masses on the importance and proper usage of Swahili. I agree with Mushi (1965), one of the promoters of Swahili that, steps should be taken to get, “rid (of) the (Swahili) language of bad influence and guide it to grow along the proper road…to standardize…usage and to encourage all our people to learn to speak…grammatical (standard) Swahili”. However, it must be born in mind that, in view of the numerous ethnic languages used in conjunction with Swahili ad even English, there are bound to be various patterns of language usage even within Swahili language itself for a long time to come.
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Language and languages, Tanzania, Tabora (district), Ethnology
Ndezi, P. E (1981) Changing patterns of miltilingualism: a case study of Igunga in Tabora region, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (