Tanzania and Kenya: Appraisal of Continued Richness in Languages

Maarten Mous


The article is a plea for sustaining the indigenous languages of Tanzania and Kenya. These languages display an impressive richness in diversity which is diminishing currently. It is important to appreciate the value of the current linguistic diversity and that of multilingualism. The article is based on a presentation at a conference of the Languages of Tanzania project and hence is biased towards the Tanzanian situation. I argue that the success of the language policy of promoting Kiswahili now opens the ways to support the local languages that pose no threat to national unity. Given that this article is a plea and one making ample use of my personal experiences of linguistic research in Tanzania and Kenya the style is more personal and lacks the usual detachment of academic papers.

Keywords: linguistic diversity, endangered languages, multilingualism, Tanzania, Kenya

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 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]