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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Borrowing in Tanzanian Ngoni lexicon: some semantic trends in a language contact situation
Authors:Mapunda, Gastor
Rosendal, ToveISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1753-5395)
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:Ngoni language
Swahili language
loan words
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10228195.2015.1016093
Abstract:The Tanzanian language Ngoni has interacted for long with Swahili, which is the more prestigious and dominant lingua franca in Tanzania. This language contact situation affects Ngoni, which frequently borrows terms from Swahili, both for concepts which are new to the Ngoni speakers, but also terms which replace existing Ngoni vocabulary. This paper investigates how borrowed words are integrated, based on a framework including semantic generalisation, specialisation and shift. The study is based on fieldwork conducted in the Songea District in the Ruvuma Region of Tanzania, in the three villages of Peramiho, Kilagano and Mhepai. It was found that borrowing was most frequent in the semantic fields 'modern world', 'food and drink' and 'clothing and grooming'. Additive borrowing was found to be more frequent than substitutive. Only semantic widening of borrowed terms was attested. However, combined with a tendency of replacement of old Ngoni terms with both Swahili and Ngoni hypernyms, it indicates that speakers' competence of the language is waning. This loss of competence may additionally be linked to a more general attrition of Ngoni culture and traditions, which may affect language maintenance. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]