A Central African Koine
Didier L. Goyvaerts
University of Brussels (VUB) and University of Antwerp (UA)
Bukavu Swahili is spoken as a first language by about 900,000 people in the town of Bukavu (in the Kivu region of Eastern Congo) and its immediate surroundings. Historically, it emerged within a context of linguistic interaction among speakers of mutually intelligible, genetically related language varieties. Bukavu Swahili is the result of this process viz. a stabilized composite variety or koine.
Keeping technical terms to an absolute minimum, Bukavu Swahili: a Central African Koine, provides a fairly exhaustive survey of the most salient features of this completely new variety of Swahili about which hardly any information is available. As such, it will be of interest to laymen and professional linguists alike.
Another significant feature of the book is that, unusually perhaps, close attention is paid to the sociolinguistic history of this particular area of Central Africa. It has been common practice for linguists to use the term “Kingwana” to refer to Congo Swahili as a whole. However, in rewriting the history of the area, the author shows that it is wrong to use the term “Kingwana” to refer to ‘the Swahili of Eastern Congo’. Instead, one should allow for a clearcut division between Kingwana, on the one hand, and Lubumbashi Swahili on the other. Also in this respect, the book will constitute a significant addition to the scientific literature.
ISBN 9783969390696. Languages of the World/Materials 515. 142pp. 2021.