Language Tag Registration Form - sw-sheng

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Fri Jan 7 05:14:31 CET 2011

Denis Gikunda dgikunda at 
Wed Jan 5 19:33:40 CET 2011 
> Tarehe 27 Septemba 2010 3:33 alasiri, ejp10 <ejp10 at> aliandika:
>> Speaking from a linguistic perspective, the description of the submission
>> makes Sheng sound like a language (especially with terms like L1/L2),
>> especially if they are really establishing radio broadcasts. If the
>> submission really means this, then a language code would be more
>> appropriate.
>> A reference from Penn about Sheng does argue that it's a separate language
>> - (actually Swahili syntax
>> with many more foreign borrowings).
>> But the Wikipedia description (
>> makes it sound like a variant of Swahili with lots of additional vocabulary 
>> not found in Swahili (but little mention of alternate grammar structures).
>> The dissertation from Penn on Sheng is very ambivalent about classifying
>> Sheng -
>> The question I would have are these -  Are there monolingual Sheng
>> speakers? If so, are they unable to understand standard Swahili?
>> The difficulty I am having is that Sheng reminds me somewhat of Spanglish,
>> which is a distinct linguistic form, but it is not clear if there are
Yes but as far as I know varieties of Spanglish depend on the local dialect(s) of Spanish and Spanglish is tied up I think with code-switching . . . which is tied up with language learning in some instances perhaps although in others speakers of Spanglish are mostly monolingual in English albeit of Hispanic ancestry.

>> monolingual Spanglish speakers...yet. 
There are many children who speak Spanglish as an l1, according to Guit'errez-Clellan et al. (Guti'errez-Clellan, Simon-Cereijido, and Wagner, 2008, "Bilingual children with language
impairment: A comparison with monolinguals and second language learners" ia
Applied Psycholinguistics 29:1: 3-19; ". . .  Hispanic English is probably the native dialect for many Latino children in the United States, " ).
However these speakers do have some standard English and Spanish vocabulary skills to some degree generally. I can't comment on sheng.
--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at 
>> Most Spanish speakers are able to at
> >least understand standard English or standard Spanish (usually both).

Yes that's my understanding too.
> But I am by no means an expert, so additional data is more than welcome.
> Elizabeth Pyatt
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