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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ambivalent attitudes: perception of Sheng and its speakers
Author:Githinji, PeterISNI
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies (ISSN 1459-9465)
Geographic term:Kenya
Swahili language
External link:http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/pdf-files/vol17num2/githinji2.pdf
Abstract:Studies in intergroup relations, e.g. H. Tajfel (1982) and M. Hornsey and M. Hogg (2000), have pointed out that people engage in social comparisons to cultivate a positive self esteem and preserve their distinctiveness. In turn, this social comparison and subsequent categorization becomes the basis for positive self evaluation and biased evaluation of others. Language as one of the key markers of social categorization becomes a key target of subjective attitudes and stereotypes towards unlike others, or the out-group. This study examines the mixed attitudes towards a formerly stigmatized speech variety called Sheng, a hybrid linguistic code spoken in Nairobi and other urban areas of Kenya, which presumably derives its name from the phrase 'Swahili English Slang'. The study involved 29 respondents, 12 females and 17 males. All were over 18 years old and were selected from a convenient sample reflecting age, gender and status categories. The perceptual ambivalence of Sheng and its speakers is attributed to raters' co-membership of overlapping communities of practice that inhibits strict adherence to the norms of a single social category. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]