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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Slang and code-switching: the case of Sheng in Kenya
Author:Mazrui, Alamin M.ISNI
Periodical:Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere: Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Geographic term:Kenya
Swahili language
Abstract:This article examines what has come to be popularly known as 'Sheng' in Kenya today, but is sometimes known as 'Mtaa' in Nairobi slums. Sociolinguistic evidence from Kibera and other areas of Nairobi suggests that Sheng is a slang based primarily on Swahili-English codeswitching, i.e. the phenomenon in bilingual or multilingual societies that speakers alternate between two or more languages in the same conversation. Sheng serves as a paracode of mainly lower class urban youth. Essentially Swahili and English structures and lexical items are variably interspersed with, mainly lexical, innovations. The article highlights some of the possible social origins of Sheng and its sociopsychological functions, as well as some of the peculiar features of codeswitching in Sheng. Bibliogr.