Language Inc

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SWAHILI

b2ap3_thumbnail_BLOG-26.jpgA quick introduction:

Although only around five million people speak Swahili (or Kiswahili – the Swahili word for the Swahili language) as their mother tongue, it is used as a lingua franca in much of Southeast Africa. The total number of Swahili speakers exceeds 140 million (after Arabic, it is the most widely understood language in Africa). Swahili serves as a national or official language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also the only African language among the official working languages of the African Union.

Current status and growth:

While English still plays an important role in post-colonial East Africa, Swahili is gaining in importance in politics, commerce, culture, education, and mass media. Currently Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are working towards a common language policy which will hopefully lead to unfettered flow in information, people and capital across the borders.

The use of Swahili as an indigenous language is expanding the readership and publication of new ideas, and in return an expansive market for Swahili books. Furthermore, when it comes to trade, there is no doubt that the current uniformity of Swahili is increasing cross-border trade with a widening access to services, especially for rural people and increase community development. Promotions and advertising will contribute to competitive trade and access to trade which is a key aspect of globalization. The globalization needs of wider communication have anchored the importance of Swahili’s growth and development.

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