The Global Place of Kiswahili: yesterday, today and tomorrow

IRIBEMWANGI PI. "The Global Place of Kiswahili: yesterday, today and tomorrow.". In: English – Kiswahili Learner’s Handbook. Nairobi: Petersberg International Publishers; 2012.


This handbook has deliberately opted to use Standard Kiswahili because this is the dialect that has largely given Kiswahili international status (the language is taught in most major world Universities) and which is bound to take it to greater heights. Standard Kiswahili is the dialect that is taught in schools and colleges and is used in formal trade and official circles. As stated by Chimerah (2000) Standard Kiswahili is the mainstream Kiswahili. This handbook holds the view that Kiswahili is a Bantu language. Greenberg (1966) states that the African region has four main language families namely: Niger-Kordofanian, Nile-Saharan, Afro-Asiatic and Khoisan. Under Niger-Kordofanian there is the Benue-Congo sub-family from which Bantu languages emanate. One of the major distinctions of the Bantu languages is that their noun-class systems portray concordial agreement. Kiswahili is a mobilizing tool that is spoken in the East African Coast from Brava all the way to Mozambique. Encarta Africana [Ms Encyclopedia (2005)] remarks that this coastal strip measures about 2,000 miles (approximately 3,200KM).Kiswahili has its place now and in the future. In the year 2003, for example, Kiswahili was declared as one of the working languages of the African Union. It has also been adopted as a language for the East African Community by the Heads of State Summit of member countries.

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