Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng
dgikunda at google.com
Thu Sep 23 04:13:34 CEST 2010
Despite having read RFC 5646, I'm not that well versed with distinguishing
factors btw 'variant' to 'distinct language' per ISO 639-3 standards.
However judging from academic discourse and my experiences on the ground,
I'd say sheng is still very much a variant.
>From a linguistic standpoint, Sheng borrows heavily from Swahili syntax &
grammar. According to one of the
in the registration:
"‘Sheng’ is based primarily on Kiswahili structure. It uses Kiswahili
grammar with lexicon
drawn from Kiswahili, English and the various ethnic languages mostly spoken
in big towns.
Initially, this mixed code was unstable, random and fluid, but it gradually
systematic patterns of usage at the phonological, morphological and
"Sheng is a sub-language comprising Kiswahili syntax but a motley lexicon
from Kiswahili, Arabic,
English and other local Kenyan languages (Abdulaziz et al. 1997, Githiora,
2002, Iraki 2004)"
Finally in terms of L1 speakership, it is quite small at the moment.
The intention of the description (section 6) was to point out that at
minimum there needs to be some delineation between Kiswahili and Sheng, and
it seems the appropriate one at this time is 'variant'.
I'd appreciate others to weigh in on this.
Tarehe 22 Septemba 2010 2:39 alasiri, Peter Constable <
petercon at microsoft.com> aliandika:
> The description makes this sound like it perhaps should be considered a
> distinct language as opposed to a dialect of Swahili. If that’s true, it
> should be considered for addition to ISO 639-3 rather than coding a variant.
> Can you please comment on this and clarify its linguistic status wrt
> *From:* ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:
> ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no] *On Behalf Of *Denis Gikunda
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:46 PM
> *To:* ietf-languages at alvestrand.no
> *Subject:* Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng
> Find below the registration form submission for new language variant,
> sheng. Also find attached a PDF copy of the same.
> Denis Gikunda.
> LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM
> 1. Name of requester: Denis Gikunda
> 2. E-mail address of requester: dgikunda at google.com
> 3. Record Requested:
> Type: variant
> Subtag: sheng
> Description: a ‘creole’ language based on swahili-KE grammar and a
> vocabulary derived from Swahili, English, and several other Kenyan
> Prefix: sw
> 4. Intended meaning of the subtag:
> The subtag represents the social code ‘sheng’ or colloquial identifier for
> the variant. sw-sheng language tag should denote that it is a derivative of
> 5. Reference to published description of the language (book or article):
> -- Nathan Oyori Ogechi. Trilingual Codeswitching in Kenya – Evidence from
> Kiswahili, English and Sheng, Hamburg 2002
> -- Clara Momanyi, Ph.D. The Effects of ‘Sheng’ in the Teaching of
> Kiswahili in Kenyan Schools, The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.2,
> no.8, March 2009
> 6. Any other relevant information:
> - Sheng contains words and influences from English and several other
> Bantu and Nilotic languages e.g. Luo and Kikuyu. It began around the late
> 70s in Nairobi, but is now spoken in every urban town in Kenya (Kisumu,
> Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru).
> - Estimated L2 speakership: >*1.6 M*. Some L1 speakers emerging urban
> and peri-urban settlements / slums. Usage is growing towards rural youth. At
> this size it is 7th most widely spoken language in Kenya, behind Kikuyu,
> Luo, Luhya, Kalenjin, Kamba & Somali.
> - 1 radio station that broadcasting entirely in Sheng: Ghetto
> - All leading print, TV & outdoor media use campaigns primarily in
> Sheng. Notably mobile operators#, Banks, and NGOs have used sheng in their
> outdoor display advertising.
> - MyGamma <http://www.buzzcity.com/f/mygamma>, a popular global social
> network, registered Sheng as the fastest growing language on its
> mobile portal.
> Denis Gikunda | Localization Manager - Africa | Google |
> Switch Board +254 20 360 1000 | Mobile +254 714 571 405 | Fax +254 20 360
> Subscribe to Google Africa Blog: http://google-africa.blogspot.com
> 7th Floor, Purshottam Place, Westlands Road
> P.O. Box 66217-00800 Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
> This email may be confidential or privileged. If you received this
> communication by mistake, please do not forward it to anyone else, erase
> copies and attachments, and let me know that it went to the wrong person.
Denis Gikunda | Localization Manager - Africa | Google |
Switch Board +254 20 360 1000 | Mobile +254 714 571 405 | Fax +254 20 360
Subscribe to Google Africa Blog: http://google-africa.blogspot.com
7th Floor, Purshottam Place, Westlands Road
P.O. Box 66217-00800 Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
This email may be confidential or privileged. If you received this
communication by mistake, please do not forward it to anyone else, erase all
copies and attachments, and let me know that it went to the wrong person.
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