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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2004-001

Mbugu/Maʼa project

Author  Lewis, Scott
Abstract 

This study of an endangered language in Tanzania shows the progression to date of the shift from Ma'a to Mbugu and from the use of both these varieties toward the two large neighboring languages in most domains. Use of the national language, KiSwahili, is also finding widespread use in certain domains.

The situation is particularly interesting because though the people identify themselves as a single ethnic group, some speak a form that could be described as a Cushitic language, and some speak a form that is primarily Bantu, while others no longer speak either of the two. The people and the language appear from historical and linguistic evidence to be in transition from the Cushitic language family to the Bantu family and then on to abandoning their traditional language entirely for a non-related, neighboring Bantu language.

The author recommends that widespread literature development in either form of the language would not be useful because this transition is so far advanced and widespread. (TGB, ed.)

  Mbugu/Maʼa project
Published  2003
Languages  Mbugu [mhd]
Swahili [swh]
Country  Tanzania
Subjects  Language surveys
Sociolinguistics
Keywords  Language surveys; Sociolinguistics