the tongue between
Swahili & English in Tanzanian parliamentary discourse
University of Florida
the tongue between attempts to untangle a communicative puzzle pertaining to a mixed code that has become a variety of choice within an institutionalized diglossic policy prescribing a choice between two officially recognized languages. Tanzanian national parliament (the Bunge) presents a perfect communicative site for illustrating this phenomenon. While the Bunge’s parliamentary proceedings language policy has persistently remained ‘Swahili or English’, the actual communicative interactions have persistently been dominated by the alternation between a ‘standard’ form and a ‘mixed’ form of Swahili, respectively referred to here as standard Swahili (SS) and elite Swahili (ES).
Drawing on the language use as a social act[ion] perspective, the book makes two major claims: first, ES is a distinct variety in its own right and second, its persistent occurrence in the Bunge’s discourse is both pragmatically and symbolically motivated – thus manifesting as a site where the society’s linguistic culture is clearly articulated and represented alongside demonstrating a communicative innovation and dynamics, but also highly contested trend. In this regard, historical and synchronic analysis is considered essential for a better understanding of the phenomenon. This book provides insightful clues for scholars and students in language policy, language mixing, identity construction, and political discourse in an African setting.
Charles Bwenge is an Assistant Professor of African sociolinguistics at the University of Florida. He earned his PhD from the University of Virginia. His research focuses on institutional communicative interactions particularly in political and commercial advertisement discourses in the Swahili-speaking east African region. His most recent published articles include “Language choice in Dar-es-Salaam’s billboards (a chapter in Fiona Mc Laughlin, ed. 2009. The languages of urban Africa. London) and “Codeswitching in Tanzanian parliamentary discourse: a communicative innovation” (Issues in Political Discourse Analysis, Vol. 2(1).
ISBN 9783895862366. LINCOM Studies in Pragmatics 19. 110pp. 2010.