Main Article Content

Neologisms Translated from English into Kiswahili and the Effects Created by the Attitude of the Speakers

Pendo Salu Malangwa


This paper examines the effect created by the attitude of Kiswahili speakers when a new word is coined through translation techniques from English into Kiswahili. Neologisms are the newly coined linguistic expressions (i.e. words and phrases) in a language system. Experience shows that new words present the language speakers with a challenge to learn and adopt them as part of their language system. However, as Yule (2014) argues new words usually find their way in the vocabulary of the language only if they become accepted by the members of the speech community. This study used both documentary and field techniques to examine the attitude of Kiswahili speakers, whereby neologisms were identified from various Kiswahili glossaries/dictionaries and were tested through Kiswahili speakers and specialists from five areas of knowledge. It has been observed that most Kiswahili speakers prefer terms which were coined through borrowing from English against those coined using Kiswahili, Arabic and other Bantu languages. Such attitudes expressed a trend that goes down from the language accorded with highest prestige to the language with low prestige. Through this study, it has been concluded that languages are socially constructed and reconstructed. Experts should either coin the new term timely or investigate and pick the one already in use by the speakers. However, the speakers should also learn to pick new words instead of transferring words from other source languages through naturalization. This can minimize terminological confusion in the Kiswahili system that is caused by use of various translation techniques.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0023-1886