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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Adopted or adapted to? Neo Swahili oral literature in Tanzania
Author:Balisidya Matteru, N.M.L.
Geographic term:Tanzania
Swahili language
songs (form)
Abstract:This paper deals with the new literary productions emanating from a larger Swahili-speaking community than that of the indigenous Swahili alone. For the purpose of convenience, it focuses on the songs of the Wagogo of Dodoma in Central Tanzania. The author argues that among the Gogo song compositions in Kiswahili are the result of two artistic responses to language development and expansion. First, the artists have had to adapt themselves and the content of their art to the new language, Kiswahili, which was spreading amongst them, especially during the colonial days. Secondly, artists have tried to adopt this language and to use it for effective social and political communication, especially after independence. The period of adaptation reveals three types of songs among the Wagogo: compositions that are in pure Swahili, mainly found in schools; compositions that are also in Swahili, but which betray the ethnicity of the artists; and compositions that are on the verge of interlanguage. After independence, when more and more people were getting access to Swahili, the same cleavage in the corpus of songs can be distinguished: songs which show mastery of Swahili; songs which use Swahili words on a Cigogo base of tune, rhythm and metre; and songs that lie on the threshold of interlanguage, mixing Cigogo and Swahili. The conclusion is that whether these new literatures are adapted to or adopted by the Swahili language, they seem to be the children of a dual linguistic parentage. Bibliogr.