Kioo cha Lugha

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The spread of Kiswahili lexis into the interior Bantu: the case of names of new world cereals and tubers in Tanzanian Bantu

Amani Lusekelo


The paper articulates incorporation of Kiswahili names of New World crops into Tanzanian Bantu languages. The paper wants to testify that names of these crops portray a case of contact between Kiswahili, Arabic, Portuguese and interior Bantu. Findings demonstrated that Mt. Kilimanjaro Bantu (Kimeru, Kimachame, Kipare etc.) and Lake Victoria Bantu (e.g. Kinyambo, Kijita, Kiruuri etc.) have massive borrowings from Kiswahili: liyalage [<maharage] ‘beans’ muchere [<mchele] ‘rice/paddy’, mwookô [<mihogo] ‘cassava’ etc. The Lake Corridor Languages (Kinyamwanga, Kinyakyusa, Kindali etc.) borrowed from Zambian and Malawian Bantu languages: amasyabala ‘peanuts’, chilemba ‘beans’, chilombe ‘maize’ etc. Alternatively, semantic adjustment of names occurred, e.g. itama = maize plant, -emba = sorghum, liligwa = maize, cassava etc.

AJOL African Journals Online