Community-Specific Strategies of Intergenerational Language Transmission among Ndamba Speakers in Tanzania

  • P Lipembe


This study concerns minority language maintenance, specifically it explores local practices that make it possible for a community to sustain its traditional language. Two variables were the focus of the research; speakers’ attitudes and language use patterns. These were examined to determine their influence in facilitating parents to transfer language to their descendants. The main goal was to explain how minority Ndamba language speakers in Tanzania have managed to maintain their language over time regardless of formidable influence engendered by Swahili. To answer this question, the micro-social factors of the community, namely; parental attitudinal predispositions, language choice patterns in the home, and community support resourcefulness were analysed, also the macro-sociopolitical decisions that resulted into the current state of micro-linguistic perfomativity are scrutinized. Data were collected from 30 parents out of whom 4 were focus group participants from two Ndamba dominant villages. Semi-structured, open-ended interview questions, and ethnographic participant observation methods were used for data collection, informal discussion was also deployed as a support method. For data analysis, qualitative data analysis model and relational content (thematic) analysis were utilized. The findings show that overall Ndamba language is being sufficiently transmitted intergenerationally among its speakers. The micro-social strategies responsible for language transmission have been identified as; community members’ language loyalty, need for ethnic identification, positive family language policy strategies, appropriate language socialization experiences and potent social speech connections.

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eISSN: 0856-6739