Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Sep 27 03:50:19 CEST 2010

Just playing devil's advocate for a minute, it seems that one could 
replace "Kiswahili" and "Sheng" with "Standard English" and 
"African-American Vernacular English" in the text below, and note that 
AAVE is considered a dialect.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Denis Gikunda
To: CE Whitehead
Cc: ietf-languages at ; doug at
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2010 19:11
Subject: Re: Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng

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 

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 

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

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