Ngoni People’s Attitudes Towards the Use Of Kingoni in Beginner Classes

Gastor Mapunda


This paper explores Ngoni people’s attitudes towards the use of Kingoni in
teaching beginner classes. The Tanzania educational policy designates Kiswahili
as the only language of instruction in public primary schools. The data were
collected in Songea Rural District using interviews, a questionnaire and
classroom observations. The study is guided by the ethnolinguistic vitality
framework, which informs decisions on language attitudes and inclination to
language use. The findings show that 77% of the participants wanted Kiswahili
to be used, while the rest had different choices, including English. The more
disadvantaged groups such as peasants showed more ambivalent attitudes
towards the use of Kingoni. The study concludes that parents support the use of
Kiswahili and not Kingoni, but this attitude has pedagogical and linguistic
implications in that children cannot follow instructions; and that they are
denied their right to be taught in a language they know well.


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