UJAH: Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities

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The linguistic situation in Orkesumet, an urban area in Simanjiro District of Tanzania

Amani Lusekelo


An investigation of the linguistic landscape in urban Africa is a welcome contribution to make in that multilingualism presents fascinating results. To satisfy this demand, the current paper investigates the patterns of language use in billboards in a small township of Orkesumet in northern Tanzania. Data demonstrates that the state of Kiswahili and English bilingualism is apparently open for religiously, privately and publicly owned institutions such as schools, churches, public offices, and accommodation facilities. Such bilingual billboards do not make use of hybrid language because there were no tokens of Kiswahili-English, Maasai-English and Kiswahili-Maasai recorded in the area. The main mechanism used to attract customers is through the selection of font-colour and font-size. The large font in black colour is preferred for names of firms, while red colour is opted for items sold and/or services rendered.

Keywords: Bilingualism, Billboards, Language Use, Simanjiro, Tanzania

AJOL African Journals Online