Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng

Denis Gikunda dgikunda at
Mon Sep 27 03:11:56 CEST 2010

Hi all,

Thank you for your additional guidance. In submitting the application, I was
beginning with the premise that the language codes are more similar (shared
ethnolinguistic background and somewhat intelligible) than they are

However, here are some reactions to Peter's Criteria:

a) The lexical differences inherent in Sheng are functional (speakers use
different terms to exclude older/traditional demographic and reflect their
young, hip, in-the-know culture).   Often new terms will be 'mainstreamed'
by usage in politics, radio etc and later will become intelligible to
Kiswahili and English speakers.   [However most other terms in lexicon are
are Kiswahili or English origin, implying a one-way intelligibility.]

b) Secondly, it is well known that Kiswahili purists currently frown upon
the effect sheng is having on teaching of Kiswahili.  The creep
of colloquial sheng terms and grammar into Kiswahili literature, for
example, suggests that delineation is needed in order to move from academic
grumbling towards policy enforcement.

c) Shared literature: There is not much since Sheng is predominantly oral
and orthographies have not yet been standardized or studied in-depth.

Based on a) and b) it may make sense to distinguish the two languages via
ISO 639-3.

Pls advise if this clarifies the situation appropriately.  I will also seek
some additional advice form language authorities on the ground before
proceeding with resubmission.

Tarehe 26 Septemba 2010 1:59 alasiri, CE Whitehead
<cewcathar at>aliandika:

> Sorry.  I checked and iso 639-3 basically provides exactly the criteria for
> distinguishing a language from a dialect that Peter mentioned; the one other
> issue mentioned is shared literature; see:

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