Pendo S. Malangwa


All languages are transformed to some extent by other languages with which they are regularly in contact. Some languages are regarded as ‘developed’ insofar as they function as the dominant mode of communication in economically developed countries (e.g. in North America and Europe). The dominant speech communities of rich economies transmit new innovations and discoveries globally, which are then translated into languages described as ‘developing’ because their use is chiefly restricted to so-called economically developing nations, such as Tanzania. In this respect, English counts among the world’s developed languages while Kiswahili is regarded as a developing language. Despite the general tendency to translate new expressions fully into a targeted developing language, there is evidence of foreign structures in Kiswahili when it is used in social media. This article analyses the English syntactic, morphological, phonological and lexical features of Kiswahili appearing in electronic platforms including WhatsApp, personal blogs (e.g. Michuziblogspot) and online social forums (e.g. Jamii Forum). This primary data is then analysed through back translation.

Key Words: translation features, language, social media, markedness, borrowing

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