Researching and Documenting the Languages of Tanzania

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ISSN: 1934-5275

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Muzale, Henry R.T.; Rugemalira, Josephat M.
Tanzania; Sukuma; Kiswahili
article description
This paper describes the challenges that researchers have encountered during six years of implementing a research and documentation project for the languages of Tanzania. It discusses the methods evolved by the project researchers for the production of a language atlas for Tanzania and presents preliminary results from the research. The results show that the language with the most native speakers, Sukuma, has twice as many as its closest rival, Kiswahili. The paper also presents an account of the research for documenting the grammasr and vocabularies of the languages of Tanzania. The expected impact of this particular form of documentation, as well as the limits, are discussed. It is argued that a language needs to be unchained from politically imposed shackles in order for a society to reap the full benefits of its cultural resources.