Songs and Language: Children’s Songs and the Learning of Kiswahili in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Kassomo Athanas Mkallyah


This paper focuses on the use of children’s songs in learning Kiswahili language in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. Usually, songs serve different purposes including transmission of knowledge, values, and language. It argues that children’s songs serve as a means for learning Kiswahili and indigenous culture. The study was conducted at Msewe, Kimara and Changanyikeni nursery schools located in Ubungo municipality of Dar es Salaam. The data was collected using interviews, observations, discussion, and documentation. In this empirical research, the study analysed the Kiswahili songs, lyrics and associated information collected with the children at these schools. With recourse to the participant and arousal theory, the study found that, apart from learning word sounds and singing, songs help children to learn pronunciation and application of words found in songs in their day-to-day communication. The tunes and rhythms of these songs support the children’s acquaintance with Kiswahili words. Furthermore, the songs’ lyrics enables children to construct Kiswahili sentences and structures, thereby enhances their learning of Kiswahili language.

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