Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2012

Some Kihaya Vocabulary

Mwaa, ebitoke enmeli: agandi mbi muno!

Kihaya is a Bantu language spoken by about a million people around Tanzanian Lake Victoria. Despite being one of the larger surviving tribal tongues - with as many mother-tongue speakers as the mighty Kiswahili - at time of writing this, there were no resources online for it, and only one academic text in forty years.*

I was taught by several people, young and old, and they conflicted over basic meaning ("omushana" is used for 'afternoon' and 'rainy season' supposedly without homophony, for instance). I suppose this is to be expected in real, unliterary, unacademic languages. Anyway Kihaya shares a great deal of vocabulary and structure with Kiswahili, and the orthography I've used is its - 'e' for 'ay' and so on. It loans a lot less from English than Kiswa does: I only found two cognates in the 200 or so words I learned ('ebegi' - bag and 'etoche' - torch). Note the loans from Arabi…