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Sheng: The Expanding Domains of an Urban Vernacular

Githiora, Chege (2016) 'Sheng: The Expanding Domains of an Urban Vernacular.' Journal of African Cultural Studies. pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

Contemporary African multilingualism is changing the languages and identities of urban communities. Sheng is a non-standard form of Kenyan Swahili closely associated with Nairobi’s urban youth, and it continues to evolve. Sheng involves much code-mixing within a Swahili matrix, placing it on a continuum of Kenyan ways of speaking. The code is also an outcome of language dynamics of a socially stratified, multilingual society in search of a modern identity. Research shows that the code has expanded its roles by moving into mainstream domains of use such as media, politics, and corporate advertising. It has also spread into peri-urban and rural Kenya as a result of the population dynamics, changed infrastructure and communications. This marks a step across an important threshold in its capacity to alter Kenya’s linguistic landscape in significant ways as it changes from a youth language into an urban vernacular.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
Institutes and Regional Centres > Centre of African Studies
ISSN: 13696815
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1080/13696815.2015.1117962
Depositing User: Chege Githiora
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2015 16:16
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21396

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