The role of loan-words in Kinyarwanda: a case study of the religious and educational domains

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
This study is an attempt to find out the role of loan-words in the development of Kinyarwanda. It also discusses the terminological expansion of Kinyarwanda to cater for its needs as a scientific language. In 1978, the Rwandese government started a campaign to create a ‘pure Kinyarwanda’ without loan-words, which should be used in different domains, including educational domain. Since then, the coinage of new Kinyarwanda terms has become a common technique in the development of Kinyarwanda vocabulary. But the study shows that the creation of Kinyarwanda technical terms has proceeded at a slow rate, and it has not been a simple task to rid the language of loan-words. The study also explores some possible sources from which Kinyarwanda terms can be developed. It focuses on the possibility of using first Kinyarwanda terms applied in different fields by Kinyarwanda speakers instead of adopting loan-words. This study comprises of 5 chapters. Chapter 1 is the background to the study. Chapter 2 deals with some of the basic facts about language development. It shows that language development is affected by both lexicological and sociolinguistics aspects. Chapter 3 deals with the analysis of the data. It shows that Kinyarwanda still has many loan-words in both educational and religious domains. It also shows that most of the new Kinyarwanda words, coined to replace loan-words, are created from the existing Kinyarwanda words by extending their original meaning or by compounding them to get a new word. Chapter 4, which discusses the attitudes of Kinyarwanda users, shows that there is no word (loan-word or new Kinyarwanda word) which is totally rejected by all users. Chapter 5 summarises the previous chapters and gives some recommendations which can be followed in the development of Kinyarwanda vocabulary
Available in print form
Language and languages, Foreign words and phrases, Foreign elements
Paul, S. (1988) The role of loan-words in Kinyarwanda: a case study of the religious and educational domains, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at