Before moving on the meaning of language let’s look a little bit on the concept of communication, because language is for communication:
Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place, person or group to another.
Every communication involves (at least) one sender, a message and a recipient. This may sound simple, but communication is actually a very complex subject.
Human being use language for communication differently from other organisms which communicate through number of means.

What is Language?
The term language has been defined variably by different scholars. However there are some common concepts that most of them do agree that must constitute any reliable definition of language. Given below are some of the different attempts to define the term language.
Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates. (Bloch and Trager 1942)
Language is a system of vocal symbols used for human communication. (Wardaugh, 1972)
Language is a system of conventional spoken or written symbols, by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants, in its culture communicate. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
 Language is a learned, shared and arbitrary system of vocal symbols through which human beings in the same speech community interact and hence communicate in terms of their cultural experience and expectation.
 Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by which thought is conveyed from one human being to another.

Key concepts in the definition of language.
a)    System,
This is a group of things or parts working together in a regular relation. A system assembles together units which form a regular and connected whole. The same is true with language because it assembles units which form a regular and connected whole. The language is constituted by subsystems which involve speech sounds (sound system/Phonetic system), phonological system, morphological system, syntactical system, semantic system, lexical system)

(i). Phonetic system. Linguists talk about phonetics as a way of describing how sounds are produced, transmitted and interpreted in the brain. Each language must have these three stages, production (articulatory phonetics), transmission (acoustic phonetics); and reception (auditory phonetics)
(ii). Phonological system. Each language has got its own sound system. Phonology deals with sound system of a particular language, e.g. English language has 24 vowels Kiswahili only 5. It deals with how sounds are articulated, (manner of articulation), where (place of articulation), State of the glottis (voiced / voiceless), and the cavity through which the air escapes (nasal / Oral).
(iii). Lexical system (word formation/vocabulary)
Each language has its own way of forming new vocabularies. For example English has the following, affixation, blending, compounding, borrowing, conversion (zero derivation), acronyms, clipping, etc
(iv). Morphological system
Is the study of how words are formed out of smaller meaningful units traditionally called Morphemes. Morphemes are regarded as word building blocks.
For Syal and Jindal (2007:20) morphology studies the patterns of formation of words by the combination of sounds into minimal distinctive units of meaning called morphemes.
Eg.Dis-establish-ment-al-ism =disestablishmentalism
Inter-nation-al-ity  = internationality
(v). Syntactical system- each language has a syntactic system that deals with how words are combined to form phrases, and how phrases are combined to form clauses and how clauses are combined to form sentences and sentences combined to form paragraphs and so on.
(vi). Semantic system – each language has a way of assigning meanings to its symbols (words). And for someone to know the language is to know what referents do those symbols refer to. E.g.
Look for=search/find,
look into=examine,
look after=take care of,
 look in= visit casually.
There are also other subsystems like tense system, system of personal pronouns, etc

b)    Symbol.
A symbol is something that represents something else. Language is said to be a symbol because it consists of the words which represent objects, ideas, concepts as well as people. So language uses acoustic images or graphic signs to represent realities. Every language has its own symbols which represent all its physical and conceptual experience. E.g. Cup, house,

c)    Arbitrariness
The linguistic symbols are arbitrary because each language community picks them very haphazardly. There is no any formal relationship between the words and what they mean. E.g. there is no particular reason why the dog, or cow, or table was named so. They could be named otherwise. That’s why we have different words in different languages. However there are some few exceptions of linguistic forms whose sounds or structures relate to physical reality. This is the case of onomatopoeic words (words which represent sounds made by those objects) like nyau (cat) pikipiki (motorcycle) andidiophonic words (which show the intensity of something) like mweupe pee, mweusi tii.  

d)   Vocal
The word vocal refers to something related to sound. As you know language is primarily made of sounds that are produced by physiological mechanisms. It is interesting to note that even when the language is written the letters represent sounds.

e)    Conventional.
Language uses symbols/signs that must be accepted by the people of a particular speech community to use for communication. That’s why speakers of one language can understand each other while those of other languages cannot. The sentence we are very happy today is accepted in English butare very happy today we is not acceptable.

Also some words/terminologies may be formed to supplement for new objects or situations but if not accepted by that speech community, they die a natural death. Eg Swahili words like mkurufunzi (student), tonoradi(atom) mlisho wa nyuma (feedback) kurunzi (torch) they are not often used.
Some words may be well-formed in a particular natural language yet they may not be accepted in that particular speech community because of being considered ugly or because of having negative contention according to the cultural values of that particular speech community.
The following words were coined but not accepted since they were considered ugly.
The word stagflation to refer to the combination of economic stagnation and high level of inflation around 1970s. Other words aretalkathonswimathon, knitathon, etc. by the analogy to marathon. This is misanalysis of –athon as a suffix which means {undertaking a strenuous prolonged activity} in Greek –athon was not a morpheme.

f)      Learnability.
Human languages must be learnt. Although children unconsciously acquire competence in language at some stages they must be taught by their teachers, parents or siblings. For example a dog will bark, a donkey will bray, a sheep will bleat, a frog will croak just the same way anywhere in the world without any formal lessons or imitations.

g)    Human.
Language is said to be human because it’s only human beings who are capable of possessing and using language. Animals are said to have no languages as do human beings though they communicate. Unlike animals human beings are born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which helps them to pick any language when exposed to it. There are different characteristics that differentiate human language from animal communication.

a)    Arbitrariness
The linguistic symbols are arbitrary because each language community picks them very haphazardly. There is no any formal relationship between the words and what they mean. E.g. there is no particular reason why the dog, or cow, or table was named so. They could be named otherwise. That’s why we have different words in different languages.
b)    Displacement.
Humans languages are able to express /communicate about things that are absent and things that are, present, past or future. That’s to say we can also talk about abstract concepts and things that are far away in terms of time and place. E.g. we can talk about colonialism that took place in Africa some years ago. Conversely a dog cannot tell you what it did yesterday or what it is going to do tomorrow.
c)      Cultural transmission.
Language is culturally transmitted from one generation to the next. Also human language acts as a medium of transmitting the culture of a particular society from one generation to another.  The transmission is done as young ones learn the language
d)   Discreteness.
The sounds of human language are meaningfully distinct. For instance the wordsman and ban differ from each other in only one sound. As you can see the different in only one sound is sufficient enough to cause difference in meaning. So we can identify sounds like /d/, /p/, /k/, /g/,/i/ etc which is not the case with animal communication. This discreteness helps us to distinguish words like, pig and big, pack and back, come and some, go and so etc
e)    Duality.
Language consists of two levels, the sound level and the level of meaning. At the sound level we pronounce sound units or phonemes which are similar in number to the basic sounds possessed by animals. The average number is between 30 and 40. But each phoneme is meaningless in isolation. The phonemes become meaningful only when they are combined with other phonemes. Take a look at the following sounds in isolation and say what they mean.
/f/,/v/,/k/,/g/,/d/,/t/,/o/,/u/,/a/,/e/,/ʋ/,/ə/. Compare when they are combined /gəʋ/ = go, /væn/ = van, are these words meaningful? Of course yes.
f)      Productivity/creativity
Language allows speakers/writers to produce and understand new utterances never heard or produced before. That means it is possible for someone to pronounce new (novel) sentences which has never been said before and still be understood. It is also possible for someone to understand new sentences produced by others. E.g. someone may say “phonology is a linguistic study of speech sounds” you might not have heard this sentence before; nevertheless, you may understand it.
g)    Interchangeability/Reciprocity
Language allows communicators to exchange positions. At one point the communicator is the speaker, but at the other he becomes the listener. When one person is speaking the other is listening and when the listener starts responding the speaker becomes the listener. This property of language is calledinterchangeability or reciprocity.

h)   Reflexiveness.
This is the ability of human language to talk about itself. A sentence like “English is an international language” is just one case of how language can talk about itself. This property makes human language different from animal communication.
i)      Specialization
Human language has specialized terms for some expressions. For example a male head of a secondary school is called Headmaster while a female is called headmistress, also there are special terms for adult and young animals; e.g. goat-kid, cat-kitten, cow-calf etc. There are special terms related to movements depending on its nature. For example;
Swagger - to walk in an extremely proud and confident way.
Toddle – walk with short and unsteady steps.
Run – to move using your legs faster than you walk.
Walk –to move or go somewhere by putting one foot in front of the other on the ground.
Trot - to run or walk very fast taking short quick steps.
March – to walk with stiff regular steps like a soldier.
Jogging – to run slowly and steadily for a long time especially for exercise.
Stagger – to walk unsteadily especially due to drinking alcohol.

(J) Patterning.
Human language has internal organization within the system. It is not just a heap of isolated items. Humans do not use sounds and words in a random way like [are in there vowels English twenty only four} but {In English there are twenty four vowels only}
Sometimes changing the patterns also changes the meaning. Consider the following sentences
Nancy NEARLY won Tsh 2,000,000/=
Nancy won NEARLY Tsh 2,000,000/=

There are many functions of language although most people know that language is used for communication only. In this study we are going to see that language does much more than just facilitating communication. Some functions of the language include the following:
(1) Communication function.
This is the function that most people would select as the principal function of language. It is true that communication is the most dominant function of language. Communication is a two way process. In one way we are able to use language to express ourselves to others, and conversely, we use language to understand what others are communicating to us.
E.g. if the teacher asks the question in class and the students respond by answering that is a communication function of language.
(2) Phatic/interactional function. (For the purposes of sociability)
The word phatic comes from Greek and means ‘utterance’. The term was coined by Malinowski, who discovered that much of what we say is formulaic and found that the same is true of all languages. He is suggesting that language is the glue which links people together.
Expressions such as,
Good morning,
Hello, how are you,
God bless you!,
Let’s go home,
Let’s go to the play room
How nice to meet you. How are you?
Phatic function of language is used when one wants to open communication channels. Communication can hardly begin without a greeting. The phatic function of the language is mainly spoken but there are some written equivalents.  E.g. for starting and ending a letter, Hello Dear.........., Yours  faithfully, sincerely, truly,  
(3). Emotive / expressive function (Intrapersonal communication / physiological ) for the purpose of releasing nervous.
Language is also used to express personal emotions. A great deal of what we say when angry or happy is said just to relieve the physical and nervous energy. E.g. words like Shit!, Fuck!. Also imagine the football fan watching tv  giving instructions to the player. Go on! Don’t mess about! For God’s sake shoot!  The instructions are perfectly useless; they serve no communicative purpose.
“Wow! It’s wonderful!”
“Oh! My goodness! What happened to you?”
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
“The meal was excellent”
“Go to hell” “To hell with your dirty money”
(4) Instrumental/Regulatory/directive Function
Language is also used for the purpose of warning or imparting discipline into the minds of the people. Think of what politicians and religious leaders do when asking for votes and preaching respectively. They use language to win people’s respects. Also teachers in school may give commands to students to get things done.  E.g.
Clean the blackboard”
“Whose bag is that on the floor?”
In this case language is used to give directions by which things are done. In expressions like “on your mark, go!,” “sit down,” “don’t disturb me”, “put your bags down”. The instructions make things happen although the other part does not reply back but does actions.
(5) Reasoning function (as an instrument of thought).
It is argued that speaking while thinking makes the speakers concentrate on what they are thinking. A majority of thinking is done in words. A common view of language is that it is an instrument/tool of thought. Even writings and speaking begins with thoughts. Language not only expresses thought but also creates it.
E.g. the owner of the house looking at his wall while he’s alone may say “if I use Twiga cement I will not need any more rehabilitation. But I do not have enough money to buy 4 bags of cement now. Well, I’ll see my friend and ask him to lend me some money. ”Or think of someone making mathematical calculations alone. “Two time two equals to four
(6) Recording function.
Language is used to record something we wish to remember for future use. It can be a short time record like a shopping list or a long term record like in a diary or history of some kind. Think of the Bible, Quran and legal documents like the constitutions. These documents here serve a recording function of the language. They do not serve the communicative function.
 (7) Identifying function.
Language has a function of identifying and classifying things, places, people and social classes. For instance it is easy to know the person’s place of origin by simply hearing his/her pronunciation. Also learning the names of things allows us to refer quickly and accurately to them. To take a fairly simple example let us consider all those terms which classify types of residences: house, maisonette, flat, caravan, bungalow, castle, mansion, palace and hut.
(8) Performative/declarative function
Language can also be used for declarative purposes in such a way that the expressions given may change the state of affairs in the world after they have been pronounced by the appropriate authority in appropriate situation. Try to imagine what happens in occasion such as wedding ceremony, meetings, church masses, and courts of law. It is normal to hear expressions like;
“I pronounce you husband and wife”
“I sentence you ten years of imprisonment”
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
“I officially declare the meeting opened” 
“I swear to tell the truth”
“This meeting is adjoined”
For example if the pastor declares “I pronounce you husband and wife” you automatically become so. Here language is said to have performed. This function is also known as Declarative function.

(9) Poetic/aesthetic Function
Language is sometimes used artistically or aesthetically. In literature the meaning of words can be widened or narrowed. Also the use of devices like onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance all draw on the pleasure we find in poetry, as do rhythm and rhyme. This use of words to achieve an artistic effect is termed as poetic function of the language. Consider the following;
Ester was given bundles of kisses on her wedding”
“You are as expensive as tanzanite”
“Debora is indeed an angel of this class”
“Feel free friend Faith”
(10) Metalinguistic function.
Language can also be used to talk about itself. For instance now we are using the language to talk about language. Such use is termed as metalinguisticfunction. Linguists describe various aspects of language such as word classes, phrases, clauses, pronunciation etc. E.g.
“Linguistics is a scientific study of language”.
“Linguist is a person/scholar who studies language scientifically”
(11) Informative/referential function.
Language is also used as a medium of passing or conveying factual information. It is used to inform about something that happened, is happening or is going to happen. Also when someone needs help may inform others who can help. Consider the following utterances.
Dady’s giving a speech tonight.
Would you help me if you were in my shoes?
We are leaving now.
It’s cold in here.
When we talk about a language (with an article “a”) we are referring to a specific language in mind whereas language (without article ‘a’) refers to the general characteristics of language with no specific language in mind.
So A Language is defined as a form of speech that is mutually comprehensible among the members of community who use it. A language may be that of a small community like our tribe languages, or may be of a larger community like international languages. Eg Kiswahili, English French, etc
Each and every language is capable of expressing the whole culture of its speakers. But languages change with time as the culture of the community also changes.
The importance of human language should never be confused with the functions of language. By functions we mean what we do with language or what language does. By importance we mean what the effects of using the language are. That is to say after language has been used something happens as a result. The significance of human language can be looked at in the following aspects.
a.     Language as a unifying/dividing factor.
Language can be used as a unifying factor in a sense that it brings together people of different backgrounds, and cultural diversities.  For example Kiswahili language has united over 120 cultures of Tanzania and feel like one people. Also English is a lingua franca of the world that helps to bring people of different nations together.
There are also some cases where language is used as a dividing factor. Sometimes people create enmity with others simply because they speak different languages. Think of what happened in Rwanda between the Ttusi and Hutu.
b.     Language as a factor for national identity.
Language is one of the many ways which identify nations and people in the world. When people are out of their home countries one of the simplest way of knowing where they come from is by using the language they speak. E.g. an African speaking Kiswahili will be thought of coming from Tanzania or East Africa. Likewise a European speaking French (from France), German (from Germany), Chinese (from China) Gujarat (from India) etc. Consider this example from the bible
Matthew 26:73 And after a while those who stood by, came to him and said to Peter, Surely you also are one of them; because your speech betrays you” (NKJV)
However, a caution should be taken that not all people who speak a particular language come from the country where it is natively spoken. It is possible to find a Korean speaking English nevertheless that does not imply that he/she comes from England though you can still be able to tell from his accent that he/she is not a native speaker of English. 
c.     Language as a factor for social stratification.
Language is also used to classify people into different social classes. The class to which a member of the society belongs is largely determined by the way he/she uses language among other things. Different social classes use language differently in terms of choice of vocabulary, pronunciation, and other aspects of language. So it is possible to stratify people as
Village dwellers vs Urban dwellers
Educated vs Uneducated
Farmers vs workers
Muslims vs Christians
Upper class vs Lower class.
Men vs women
d.    Language as a mirror or cultural and physical realities.
Language reflects a variety of customs, knowledge, traditions and beliefs. Words making up a particular language reflect the culture of that community. E.g. the Kiswahili word Ugali is found in most Bantu languages because they eat that kind of food. But it lacks its equivalent in English because it is not part of the culture of the native English speaking communities. Unless it is borrowed, it cannot be expressed in English language. Also the Swahili word makuti is another case in point.
e.     Language as a factor for social development.
Human beings normally use language to coordinate and promote social activities and services like education, hospitals, housing etc. For example policy makers communicate their policies to implementers and the implementers put them in action. Also language facilitates trading activities, and that is why sometimes translators and interpreters are needed to facilitate communication where there is no common language.
f.       Language as a tool of communication. (information exchange)
With language we are able to communicate in various events in the form of greetings, telephone conversation, discussions, rallies, e-mails, mass media like TV, radio, newspapers and the internet. So this can be considered as the most important role of language so far. Try to imagine how life would have been with the absence of language.
Competence and Performance
This refers to the person’s internalised grammar of language. It is the subconscious ability that helps someone to judge the grammaticality of expressions used in a certain language. It helps someone to create and understand sentences including sentences he/she has said or heard before. For example an English speaker is likely to say that this sentence is grammatically incorrect, “I will eat rice last week”. Interestingly, a person who judges the grammaticality of what is said is not necessarily a linguist. A person may correct your grammatical mistake but may not be able to give reason for that correction.
This refers to the actual use of a language in actual/concrete situations. In other words it refers to what people actually say or understand by what someone else says on a given situation. In most cases poor/imperfect performance is not necessarily a reflection of competence. That is because a person who is very competent in a language may exhibit poor performance due to, slip of tongue, tiredness/boredom, drunkenness, sickness, etc.


These are violations committed by people who have not mastered the language. They show the level which one has reached in language acquisition. For example a child/a person who has not mastered a language, violates a lot of grammatical and pronunciation rules. This shows that the child/the person is in the process of acquiring/learning the language. Sometimes it is hard for them to correct themselves. A child might say “my mom gived me a gift yesterday” and may not realize that he/she has made an error.
These are violations made by people who have mastered the language. Sometimes the person immediately corrects himself/herself after making a mistake but a person who commits an error may not correct himself/herself because he/she does not realize whether she/he has made an error. But a competent person who utters the expression like, “my mother gived me a gift yesterday” is likely to correct that utterance immediately and say “oh! Sorry “she gave me a gift yesterday”. This is what we technically call a mistake.
a)          Linguistics
This is the scientific study of language. As a scientific study it involves scientific procedures like observation, data collection, data analysis, hypothesis formulation, experimenting and conclusion. It also applies principles and theories from different scholars. There are many branches of linguistics including; historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophical linguistics, comparative linguistics etc.
b)             Linguist.
This is a scholar who studies language scientifically. A linguist is not necessarily the speaker of the language he/she is studying. That is to say the linguist is only interested with the language patterns of the language he/she is studying. Say for instance the linguist may study the grammar, phonology, lexis and semantics of Chinese language while he is not the speaker of Chinese.
c)             Lingua franca
This is an auxiliary language that is used to facilitate communication among the people who use different languages. Also it can be defined as a hybrid or other language used over a wide area as a common or commercial tongue among people of different speeches. When people who have different languages come together and need to communicate among themselves they need a common language that connects them in areas such as trade, education, politics etc. This is what we technically call lingua franca. For example Kiswahili is a lingua franca of the most Tanzanians. English is also a lingua franca of the world.
d)            First language/mother tongue/native language
This is the language which a child is first acquires from childhood. The child does not need formal classes to be able to speak the mother tongue. For example English is spoken as a mother tongue in USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Mother tongue is not necessarily mother’s language. The mother may be speaking Kinyamwezi, but if the child grows in an area where kimasai is spoken and as such the child acquires Kimasai that is the mother tongue to that child. In Tanzania for example there are many children who acquire Kiswahili as their mother tongue while their parents have different mother tongues.  Sometimes the first language is referred to as Language 1 (L1)
e)             Second language (L2)
This is the language learned/acquired after the first language. This may be learned for different purposes like commerce and trade, education, sociability, or government activities within a given country. For instance English is used as a second language in countries like, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Pakistan. In some countries the second language is also the national language. E.g. English in Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda. Some speakers of the second language manage to attain high proficiency in the second language and some even manage to reach a standard similar to that of language 1 {L1}
f)               National language.
This is a language that is considered to be the main language of a country. A country may choose one variety/dialect and declare it as a national language. {as the case of Kiunguja}. In many countries the national language is also an official language; used in government, courts of law and official business. For example Kiswahili is the National language in Tanzania, French in France, English in USA, and other commonwealth countries such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
          In countries with many languages {multilingual nations} the term “official language” is preferred. E.g. in Singapore, there are 4 official languages, English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamal. In Canada there are English and French all occupying an official status.
i.                    Number of speakers. It must be spoken by the majority. If a country has more than one language, the one with a great number of its speakers will be considered.
ii.                 Area/coverage. Its speakers should be spread in a large area.
iii.               Simplicity. It must be simple to learn.
iv.                It must be a well documented so that further researches on the language can be possible. It should also be the one used in education and government processes.
v.                  It must unite the people against tribalism. It should not lift up one ethnic group above others.
vi.                It must be declared by the government.
NB the national language does not necessarily originate from the country concerned. E.g. In the republic of Benin Yoruba, Dagon, and Ga dominate and are struggling to have a dominating importance in the country. Due to this situation the country was forced to opt for a foreign language.
g)             Foreign language
This is a language that is learned by someone for the purpose of communicating with people across boundaries/frontiers or with others who are not from their country. E.g. foreigners/tourists, commerce, travel, education, and reading books and listen to news broadcasts. Such a language is learnt where there is already language 2 that is used in a nation for both official and private purposes. English is a foreign language in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Japan, DRC, USSR and China. French is a foreign language in Tanzania, Zambia etc. It should be born in mind that the status of foreign language is lower than that of a second language.

This is a group of people who regard themselves as using the same language. The Chinese for example regard themselves as a speech community, the Australians, British, and Americans form one speech community. The Scandinavians do not constitute a language community because they have different languages such as, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. In multilingual societies there may be more than one speech variety in common.

         This is a situation whereby a person speaks two languages. Sometimes it is also used to refer to a society where two languages are spoken. For example Canada is a bilingual society because both English and French are spoken.
A person who speaks two languages is called a bilingual. E.g. most Tanzanians are bilinguals because in addition to their tribal languages they also speak Kiswahili. A person may become a bilingual by being exposed to those languages and may acquire them from the environment. Also one can become a bilingual by learning the second language in schools. It is argued that a person cannot be equally competent in both languages.
This is a situation in which a person or a society uses many languages. Such societies are referred to as Multilingual societies. Tanzania is also a multilingual society as it has more than 120 ethnic languages.
Causes of multilingualism.
a.      Political and demographic factors. When people move from one place to another they carry along their languages, this makes the increase in the number of languages in the destination area.
b.      Education. Some people learn new languages in schools. If the education system allows multiple languages to be taught, then it is more likely for the recipients of that education to be multilinguals. Take an example of Tanzania education system which allows Kiswahili and English to be used/taught as both medium of instruction and subjects. In addition to these languages French is also taught in some schools as a foreign language while Arabic is also recognised in Islamic institutions. This also makes Tanzania a multilingual society.
c.       Culture. Some people may admire the culture of other people. In the process they may also want to learn their language as a way of identifying themselves with people of those cultures. E.g. if someone admires the culture of the English speaking people, he/she is more likely to learn English as well thus becoming a multilingual.
d.      Economic factors. As people move from place to place looking for better economic opportunities, trade and commercial purposes etc they happen to carry their languages with them. This adds the number of languages in the society they migrate to. E.g. the Indians and Arabs who come in Tanzania for trade purposes may learn Kiswahili and carry it along when they go back home, thus making their societies multilingual.
e.      Natural calamities. Natural calamities like flood, earthquakes, volcanoes, and droughts may force people to move from place to place. In so doing they may take their languages to the societies they migrate to.

         This is a situation in which two languages or language varieties co-exist side by side in a community and each one is used for different purposes. This should not be confused with bilingualism. In diglossia one language variety has a high status and the other a low status. A high variety is used in formal matters/domains while the low variety is used in informal domains such as shopping, conversation at home, etc. Kiswahili and English in Tanzania fit in this concept. Kiswahili is relatively low in its functions while English enjoys a high status as it is used as a medium of instruction in higher learning institutions high courts, trade and commerce, medicine etc.
        Yet Kiswahili also in some instances enjoys a high status. Besides being a national and an official language in Tanzania it is used in schools, courts, international conferences etc. In such a situation where even the language categorised as low enjoys a high status as well in some domains, we refer to it asDOUBLE OVERLAPPING DIGLOSIA.
Diglossic situation is also evident in Canada where both French and English are used.

It is not usually easy to say what is or is not an international language until we have fully comprehended the criteria that make a language international. For example English is regarded as the world’s most important language and most widely used language.

The criteria that make a language international.
1.       Number of native speakers that the language happens to have.
2.      Geographical dispersion. The language should be geographically dispersed in many continents and countries.
3.      Its vehicular load. To what extant is it a medium of science and literature or other highly regarded cultural manifestations?
4.      The economic, technological and political influence of its speakers.
Therefore we can define international language as;
A language that is used by more than one nation. Or it is the language that is used officially beyond the national levels to facilitate communication between nations. Examples of international languages are; English, Kiswahili, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic etc.
Some of the international languages listed above achieved the status of international languages as a result of historical events such as colonialism and imperialism. Some crossed their boundaries due to trade, ideological reasons and other contacts like education, diplomacy etc. E.g. Russian.
Why is Kiswahili an International language? Explain by giving five points. (NECTA 2014)
        i.            Number of native speakers. Kiswahili is an international language because it is spoken by many people in different countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
     ii.            Its vehicular load. Another reason is that Kiswahili is used in literature; there are books which are written in Kiswahili language and read across the borders; and that it is a means of international entertainment through songs and films.
   iii.            Economic and political influence. Kiswahili is an international language because it is used in international meetings such as EAC, SADC and AU. It is taught in different Universities abroad, for example, Kenyatta University, Makerere University and Berlin University.
    iv.            It is used by the World media such as BBC, DW, Voice of America, Radio Vatican, KBC, UBC and TBC;
      v.            Geographical coverage. Kiswahili is now used in many countries and many continents ass can be evidenced by the media mentioned above.

As we have seen English is used globally.  In some countries it occupies the status of native language, some second language in others it is a foreign language and some countries yet have declared it a national language. 
The English which is referred to as international one is the Standard English. This is an English dialect accepted as a model throughout the English speaking community. It is the only non-localised dialect without significant variations and is universally accepted as the appropriate educational target in teaching English.
English qualifies to be an international language due to the criteria mentioned earlier but let us examine them in details.
1.      Number of Native speakers.
English is the mother language of an estimated 341 million people and the second language of 508 million people in over sixty countries and states where it enjoys the status of official or co-official language. Countries where English is the majority mother tongue include the United States (76%), the United Kingdom (94.8%), Canada (59.3%), the Republic of Ireland (92.3%),Australia (95%)and New Zealand (91.4%). Together, these five countries form the foundation of English as a mother tongue in the world.
However, if we add the number of native English speakers in the countries listed above to those in India, Africa, and Oceania, the total increases from 306 million to 374 million. This is the number of English speakers (or anglophones) in the world, strictly speaking.
2.     Geographical dispersion.
English is now found in all countries of the world with over 2.2 billion people having competencies in the language in varying levels of proficiency. English is the second most commonly used language in the world (next to Mandarin). Native English speakers-about 370 million-are now outnumbered by those coming to English as a second or alternative language.
NOTE: Chinese has over one billion speakers yet it is not an international language. This is due to the fact that all those speakers constitute native speakers. The language is not geographically dispersed in other continents but it is spoken within China or among Chinese themselves. So it does not qualify to be an international language because of that limitation.
3.     Its vehicular load.
English is the dominant language globally in telephone communication, science and technology, commercial travel and business, book publishing and second language instructional programs. English is the language of the Internet even in China where over 84% use the language
English is used in over 95% of transactions among members of the European Union and throughout the Commonwealth
4.     Political, technological and economic influence. 
The powerful nations that use English as native speakers (USA & Britain) have got a big political and economic influence all over the world. They are members of G8 and permanent members of the UN. English is an official language of theUnited Nations and many other international organizations, including theInternational Olympic Committee.
(A)           LANGUAGE POLICY.
Language policy refers to the decision of the government on the status of languages in a country. That means which language should be used in which domains and for which purposes. Today in Tanzania it is difficult to judge whether English is a Second or Foreign Language because we normally don’t hear English in streets, at market places or in buses. English is spoken only in classrooms, where after all both English and Kiswahili are used. Language policy in Tanzania recognises both Kiswahili and English as official languages and are acceptable in government communications.
  English is used as a medium of instruction in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. It is also used as a medium of instruction in English medium Primary schools.
  English is taught as a subject from primary level to university level.
  English is used as official language in high courts, official letters (e.g. job application letters,) in job advertisements,  job interviews, hospital prescriptions, legal documents,  and in journalism (newspapers TVs and radios)
  English is used in international conferences like EAC conferences.
  English is used as a second language next to Kiswahili by many in Tanzania especially those who have Kiswahili as their mother tongue.

  Kiswahili is used as a medium of instruction in Primary level (except the English medium schools)
  Kiswahili is taught as a subject from primary level to university level.
  Kiswahili is used as official language in government offices, media (newspapers, TVs, and Radios) Internet, parliament, political campaigns, local trade and churches.
  Kiswahili is used as a second language to the majority of Tanzanians.
  Kiswahili is a national language of Tanzania.
  Kiswahili is used in literature. There are many books in Kiswahili language written by Tanzanian authors.

              i.            English is an international language. It is not a property of any particular nation anymore. As an international language it enhances access to scientific, technological and technical knowledge.
           ii.            English is used in international trade/business. Tanzanians must learn the language to be able to enjoy the opportunities the English speaking community has to offer.
         iii.            English is well documented and researched compared to Kiswahili. There are many books in English than there are in Kiswahili. So Tanzanian will miss a lot of knowledge offered in English language if they throw away English.
          iv.            Expanding the labour markets. If the students will be subjected to Kiswahili only it will narrow their chances of getting jobs from institutions that use English such as UN agencies.
            v.            Learning through English is a way of practising the language. If we learn through Kiswahili it will be difficult to master the language.
          vi.            Learning through English makes a student divergent in thinking. A person who speaks many languages will have divergent thinking because each language community looks at the world differently.
       vii.            It is more expensive to translate English books into Kiswahili. There is no enough money to meet the cost of translating the materials available in English into Kiswahili so as to use Kiswahili as a medium of instructions.
     viii.            English is used for education. Since we lack enough skilled people like doctors, engineers etc we have to send our people to different countries for studies.
             ix.            We need English for relationship. Tanzania sends delegates and ambassadors in English speaking countries. So it is important for us to learn the language to enhance such a relationship.

                             i.      Kiswahili is accessible to the majority of Tanzanians. Because Kiswahili is accessible to the majority of Tanzanians it would be easier to learn through it.
                          ii.      English is a foreign language. Forcing students to learn through a foreign language is like colonising their mind. So we should use Kiswahili as a way of getting rid of colonisation.
                        iii.      Kiswahili is a language for social development and political unity. Most Tanzanians use Kiswahili in their day to day social and political activities which unite over 120 ethnic groups. So it is better to learn through Kiswahili for sustainable development and political unity.
                         iv.      Kiswahili is a language of national identity and cultural heritage. Kiswahili is a language that originates from Africa, so to teach using Kiswahili is a way of cherishing our cultural heritage.
                           v.      English is taught so badly in schools. English lacks adequate trained teachers, teaching and learning resources and teaching methods. So a majority of students know much about the language but cannot use to communicate in both written and spoken forms.
                         vi.      Psychological studies show that children learn better in a mother tongue. So Tanzanians students should be taught in Kiswahili for fuller development of their mental abilities.
                      vii.      No language is endowed with scientific knowledge. Linguistically speaking, all languages are equal. There is no superior language than others. If thinking and innovation are pegged on the knowledge of English language, why are the Chinese and Japanese, for example, influencing the world in spite of their deficiency in English?
                    viii.      Most teachers teach using Kiswahili instead of English. Already teachers are teaching using Kiswahili in the classroom instead of English. This indicated their lack of proficiency in the language or their understanding of poor proficiency in their students. So it is high time we formalise the use of Kiswahili.

As we saw above English is still facing many challenges in the way it is taught and used in Tanzania. To improve the teaching and learning of English the following can be done among other things;
1.      Efforts to prepare well Trained English teachers. The government should make extra efforts to train teachers who are going to teach English. Most teachers who teach English are not competent in the language. They make a lot of grammatical, phonological and pragmatic errors which are copied and imitated by the learners. So both teachers and students remain linguistically poor.
2.     Adequate Teaching and learning resources.  More grammar books should be printed and be available for everyone.
3.     Encouraging the use of English in everyday life. In Tanzania English is seen than heard. Practice makes perfect.
4.      Using appropriate teaching and learning methods inside and outside the classrooms. Teachers should stop teaching by means of Kiswahili in English classrooms. A communicative approach for example requires learners and teachers to use the target language in learning. Our target language here is English so teachers should teach it using English. Others include, debates, oral presentations, essay writing, home reading, speeches language clubs etc.

5.     Using English as a medium of instruction from Primary School. There is a special time in the mental development of a child associated with language acquisition which is called Critical Period. This is a period before puberty. Most students at this age are in primary schools. So if the children/students will be exposed to English language at this age it will be easier for them to learn the language.

6.      Using teaching aids.  Teachers of English should use the teaching aids to improve the results. Teaching Aids are of three kinds; Visual Aids, Audio Aids and Audio-Visual Aids. These include, TV sets, recorded materials like DVDs, CDs, reading English newspapers, story books etc, listening to English news broadcasts etc

7.      Motivation to teachers and students. Language learning is strenuous. It needs more efforts and dedication. So teachers who are involved in the teaching of English should be motivated so as to spend more time with students and help them with language learning. Also students who show relative improvements in English language should be motivated.
NB: The ways suggested are not exhaustive you can add to the list.

All human languages have internal variations, arising from the different ways speakers express the same meaning. In this case, no two speakers of the same language speak exactly the same way; nor does an individual speaker speak the same way all the time. Although primarily our discussion will focus on English language, it should be born in mind that variations exist in all languages.

In phonetics, Accent refers to the features of pronunciation that signal the speaker’s background.
It is also a variety of language characterised by peculiar pronunciation.
Accent also refers to the way in which a speaker pronounces and therefore refers to the variety, which is phonetically and/or phonologically different from other varieties. Chambers & Trudgill (1980:5). 

Accents of English differ in many aspects
Eg (i) Number of vowel phonemes.
     (ii) Rhoticity; There are Rhotic and Non Rhotic accents
    (iii) Some are highly described in literature and some are not.

Within a principle accent of English it is possible to contrast two or more minor accents; E.g. within East African Kiswahili accent, one can identify Kenyan Accent, Ugandan Accent and Tanzanian Accent. However, within Tanzanian accent there can also be minor accents like Lake Zone accent, Eastern zone accent, Northern accent etc.
        In England, there is a considerable variation within the accents of English. There is so much variation that it is so difficult to apply the term British English in spoken English. Accents of English in Britain can be subdivided into.
a) England English accent which comprise:
1.       Southern England accents.
2.      Midlands England English accents.
3.      North English accents which are further  divided into
                                i.            Yorkshire
                             ii.            Lancashire
                           iii.            Native London Accent (cockney) and
                            iv.            West country accent 
b) In Scotland, there is Scottish English and the closely related accents of Scots languages.
c) In Wales, Welsh English is spoken
d) In North Ireland, Irish English is spoken.

       It originated in the South East England in the royal family, the area around London between 15th C-16th C. it first emerged in the royal court of the monarchy, but today it does not belong to any region. It is accepted around the British Isles. Although the British society has changed, RP is no longer the accent of the upper class but at least used by educated, professionals, rich etc. Only 3% of English speaking population speak RP.
       It is also used as a model of teaching and learning in many countries.
It is taught to foreign learners because it is considered the most prestigious and most beautiful accent. Originally, it had been used in radio and TVs consequently it is called the BBC accent.
Characteristics of RP.
a.      It is a non-Rhotic accent. /r/ is not pronounced when it appears in the final position and before consonants. Eg car /ka:/
b.      It uses the dark /ɫ/ when it occurs at the end of a syllable, or before another consonant. In other phonetic environment, it is clear. Eg feel/fi:ɫ/ compare leave /li:v/
c.       It does not have yod-dropping after the sounds /n/, /t/ and /d/ e.g. in AmE new /nu:/, tune /tu:n/ and dune /du:n/ are pronounced as /nju:/, /tju:n/ and dju:n/ respectively in RP
d.      The /t/ has a strong aspiration when in initial or final position. E.g. top /tͪɒp/ compare stop /stɒp/, also sport /spͻ:t ͪͪ /
e.      It is rich in phonemes. It has 20 vowels and 24 consonants.
f.        It is posh i.e. it is said to be palatable and easy to learn.
g.      It is a regionless accent.

There are different factors that contribute to language variations these include the following.
1.     Geographical Factor (Regional Dialect.)
It is easy to identify a user from a certain place by the way someone uses the language different from the other users from other place that speak the same language. Here we get the dialect that is called REGIONAL DIALECT.
         Regional dialects are found at national and international levels. For example the Dialects of English at national level include Welsh, Scottish, cockney, and BBC English. At international level we have, British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, West African Pidgin English (WAPE) etc.
2.     User’s Class Membership/Social Stratification
We can also find users from a certain class speaking differently in certain aspects from users of another class who speak the same language. Here we get social dialect or sociolect.
The classes may be those of higher and lower, educated and uneducated, town dwellers and village dwellers, Muslims and Christians, etc.
3.     User’s Time Of Existence (Historical/Temporal Factor)
Languages change with time (it is dynamic). Users of any language also use the language as it is used in their time of existence. This causes the varieties labelled as Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Language changes in all aspects, i.e. grammar, vocabulary, word order, spellings, meaning, pronunciation etc.
4.     User’s Individuality (Idiosyncratic Factor)
Every individual user of a language has individual idiosyncratic (peculiar) linguistic features characterising the way he/she uses the language different from all the other users. Linguists believe that no two speakers of the same language speak exactly the same way. The differences in individual ranges from voice quality, pronunciation, grammar, usage, handwriting and preference in certain utterances like: you know.., in fact...., I see..., The variety of language characterising an individual user is termed as IDIOLECT
5.     User’s Age
Users of different ages use language differently in almost all such aspects as voice, pronunciation, vocabulary, and usage. We categorize age in terms of childhood, youth and old age. Children have their own way of speaking termed as childish. E.g. Motherese (an adult imitation of the speech of young children as used by mothers when speaking to their children.) Young people’s dialect is characterised by slangs and peculiar accent.
SLANG is referred to as a casual or informal way of speaking. It is used in informal situations with colleagues, teenagers, students, friends of relatives. Old people use euphemism much often and sometimes they conservatively retain dated features of the language.
6.     User’s Sex.
Language also varies with sex in some aspects that make male users speak differently from female users. The difference is usually found in their voice quality, accent, as well as general usage, such that there as some expressions that are counted as feminine and masculine in nature. (Consider the Swahili slangsshostii and shoga which means best friend, can male speakers use them)
7.     Occupation.
The kind of occupation that someone is engaged in is determines the way someone is using the language. We know for sure that lawyers use the language differently from the journalists. Also there is a way a police officer uses the language that is different from the way the pastor uses it even when they seem to be talking about the same topic. Look at the following example.
Police officer: We shall deal with the criminals.
Pastor             : We shall pray for the sinners.
This kind of language that is used by people of particular occupation or profession is called Jargon.
JARGON is a technical language used by a group of people who belong to the same field/profession. This kind of language is understood by people or specialists of particular occupation/discipline. For example words likemutatis mutandis, inter alia, herein, thereof, are used in legal documents so they are legal jargons.

This is a subdivision that deviates from a main language by having peculiar vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and spellings. It is a variety of language that is determined by users. Eg British English and American English are examples of English dialects.


i.  Has one form of past and past participle of the verb get-got

Has two forms
Get-gotten(pp)-got (pt)
ii.  Repetition of the subject ‘one’
Eg. One cannot succeed unless one works hard.
No repletion of ‘one’
Eg. One cannot succeed unless he/she works hard.
iii.   In questions
Eg Have you got a pen?

Do you have a pen?
iv.    Use of preposition ‘from’ after different
Eg. Your shirt is different from mine.
Uses ‘than’ after different.

Eg. Your shirt is different than mine.
v.      Retains ‘should’ after the verbs like demand, require, suggest, insist. Eg We suggest that Sir Mwita should preach today.
Omits ‘should’ after those verbs.
We suggest that Mwita preach today.
There are many words that differ in pronunciation some of them are:
Schedule /∫edju;l/
News /nju:z/
car /ka:/
God /gɒd/
Go /gəʋ/

Schedule /skeʤu:l/
News / nu:z/
car /ka:r/
God /ga:d/
Go /goʋ/
Theatre /litre/centre
Defence /offence

Deffense / offense
Hall of residence


The attempt to distinguish language and dialect has always been a controversial issue. Dialects and language are not to be taken as well defined separate entities but frequently they merge into one another without any discrete break.
        In sociolinguistics, the following criteria have been used to distinguish the two;
1. Size.
    A language is larger than a dialect in geographical dispersion and number of speakers. A number of English speakers around the world is generally bigger than that of say British English dialect alone.
2. Prestige.
    Language is more prestigious than a dialect. People feel relatively better when they are said to speak a language than a dialect.
3. Mutual Intelligibility.
    Dialects are mutually intelligible while languages are not (though not always the case). That is to say speakers of different dialects of the same language can readily understand each other but speakers of different languages do not. That implies for instance that all speakers of English dialects can understand each other.
         Nevertheless, as we saw earlier it is not always easy to distinguish language and dialect. The reason is, the main criterion used is that of mutual intelligibility.
        One way of distinguishing Language from Dialect has been to say,“Language is a collection of mutually intelligible dialects” (Chambers & Trudgill 1980:4, Vaillet & Stewart 2001). That means speakers from different dialects of the same language can considerably understand each other quite well, though it may not be for 100%.
     The definition above characterises the dialects as subparts of the Language. This criterion of Mutual intelligibility may have some relevance, but it does not help us to decide what is and what is not a language.
         Thus, it is not so easy to say whether two language varieties are dialects of the same language or different languages. This leads to the fact that the consideration of what is and what is not a language is based on the reasons that are non-linguistic rather than linguistic factors. These include; geographical, social, cultural and historical factors.
     To internalize this concept let us begin by examining the following cases.
      First, If we consider the Scandinavian Languages, we observe that Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are usually considered different languages; unfortunately for our definition they are mutually intelligible. (Vaillet & Stewart2001). The speakers of the three languages can readily understand and communicate with one another.
    Secondly, German is considered a single language, but there are some parts of Germany, that are not intelligible to speakers of other parts. In some cases when two varieties fall into two distinct political and geographical borders they are termed as different languages, no matter how intelligible they might be. This situation exists near the border of Holland and Germany where the dialects of either side of the national borders are mutually intelligible. Because of international borders (and probably political and cultural considerations), speakers of these languages regard them as different languages.
       In Tanzania the case exist between the Sukuma and Nyamwezi, these two varieties are mutually intelligible, but since the speakers of these varieties fall into distinct tribes with different cultural backgrounds, they consider their varieties different languages as well. A contrary feature exists among the Chagga. Although they consider themselves as speaking the same language, Chagga language is mutually unintelligible across all its dialects like Machame, Kibosho, Marangu etc.  Based on the considerations such as common cultural and historical background the speakers of these dialects are all said to speak Chagga. 
It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area.
So, a pidgin is a simplified language derived from a contact between two or more people with different languages. In other words it is a hybrid form of languages.

Types of Pidgins.
There are two types of pidgins.
a.     Temporal pidgin/marginal pidgins.
This one lasts in a very short time. It disappears when the contact is over. People who come together for a specific purposes like war, evangelism, temporary jobs like road constructions etc. may develop a kind of simplified language to help them in communication. This language dies away when the contract or the war is over.
b.     Expanded pidgins.
This lasts for a long time. It develops in areas where people have multiple languages. For example in Papua New Guinea there is a common example of a pidgin called Tok Pisin.

Characteristics of Pidgin.
  It has limited vocabulary.
  It is used in a limited way and the structure/syntax is very simplistic. E.g. they don’t mark plurals in nouns.
Wan pikin (one child) tu pikin (two children), triman (three men) foa woman (four women)
  Since they serve a single simplistic purpose, they usually die out
  No agreement between subject and predicate in the 3rd person.
e.g. pusi dring di milk (Pussy drinks the milk)
  It does not have native speakers, it is reduced in linguistic form and grammar. It is restricted in contexts of use and is typically unstable and highly mixed. It may sometimes be a stable variety with norms of acceptability, but is NOT a fully adequate natural language
  It is characterised by reduplication. Eg goody-goody (very good) fain fain (really lovely), long pela long pela (very long)

If the pidgin is used long enough, it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabularyIn some cases the children of speakers of Pidgin may decide to use it as their mother tongue. Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers (the children learn the pidgin as their first language), it is then called a Creole. An example of this is the Creole from Papua New Guinea, TOK PISIN, which has become a National language. Also Krio is an example of a Creole spoken in Sierra Leone. Other examples include;
a)     Guyana in Northeast South America.
b)     Jamaican Creole in Jamaica
c)      Gullah in USA parts of Geogia and South Carolina
  So Creole is a pidgin which has become the mother tongue of the members of a speech community.

Characteristics of Creole.
  Vocabulary is more comprehensive. Creoles have more developed vocabulary compared to pidgins.
  The syntax of Creoles is more advanced than that of pidgin. Nevertheless, the following can still be noted
a)     There are no forms of BE as auxiliary or copular verb.
Eg She a nice person. (She is a nice person)
b)     No agreement of subject and predicate in present tense.
She sing in de choir. (She sings in the choir)
c)      There is no ‘s’ as a plural marker in nouns.
Two book (two books)
d)     A verb is negated by inserting NO particle.
I no want it (I don’t want it)
e)     There is no past tense marker. Past tenses are expressed using the base form without ending.
I go yesterday (I went yesterday).
Look at the way the following pidgins/creoles express the Lord’s Prayer.
Hawaii pidgin. (Hawaii)
God, you our Fadda, you stay inside da sky. We like all da peopo know fo shua hou you stay. An dat you stay good and spesho, An we like dem give you  plenny respeck.
We like you come King fo everybody now. We like everybody make jalike you like, Ova hea inside da world, Jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like.
Give us da food we need fo today an every day. Hemmo our shame, an let us go Fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you. jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready, And we no stay huu wit dem fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us. No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff, but take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us.
Cuz you our King, You get da real power,
And you stay awesome foeva. Dass it.
TOK PISIN (Papua New Guinea)
Papa bilong mipela, yu stap long heven, Mekim nem bilong yu i kmap holi. Mekim Kingdom bilong yu i kam. Strongim mipela long bihainam laik bilong yu long graun olseam ol i bihainim long heven tu. Nau yu ken givim mipela kaikai inap long dispel de. Na yu lusim ol rong bilong mipela, olsem mipela i lusim ol rong ol man i mekim long mipela. Na yu no bringm mipela long traim tasol tekewe mipela long samting nogut.
Kingdom na strong na biknem i bilong yu tasol oltaim.
KAMTOK (In Cameroon) De Lohdz Pria
Oua Fada whe you lif fo heaven
Yo name must be holy, make yo commandia i come fo we, how you want, so i must be for groun like fo heaven.
Give we chop whe nuff fo we this day, and excuse we bad, like we too, we excuse the people whe them do we bad.
No let we go fo bad road, but move we fo bad thing
GULLAH (Carolina, Georgia and Florida)
We Papa een heaben,leh ebrybody hona you nyame cause you da holy. We pray dat soon you gwine rule oba all ob we.
Wasoneba ting you da want, leh um be een dis wol, same like e be dey een heaben. Gee we de food wa need dis day yah an ebry day.
Fagibe we fa de bad ting we da  do. Cause we da fabibe dem people wa do bad ta we. Leh we don’t habe haad test we Satan try we.
Keep we from e ebil.

1.      Trade
Trade brings people together and in the process people of different languages may borrow some words from each other. Also it carries a language from one geographical area to another. Take an example of how Kiswahili spread from the coastal areas to the interior.
2.     Religion.
In the process of spreading the religious beliefs of a certain religion the language used also spreads. Eg Christian missionaries helped in the spread of English language. Also Islamic religion has helped the spread of Arabic language.
3.     Colonization
Colonialism has helped the spread of colonial languages to their colonies. Most nations of the world that were colonises, today they use the languages of their colonial masters. That is why we have francophone and Anglophone countries. Languages like English, French, Portuguese, spread to Africa during colonialism.
4.     Government on language policy
The language policy of a nation helps in the development of certain language above others. For example after independence, Tanzanian government took some measures to develop Kiswahili including declaring it as a national language and making some bodies to develop the language eg TUKI, BAKITA  etc.
5.     Social, science and technological development.
Invention of new technologies and social affairs results to coining new words into the language. Eg ng’atuka, tarakilishi(computer), facebook, watsapp, ipad, etc.
6.     Mass media.
The mass media have a great role to play in the development of the language. These include; News papers, radio, and television. Eg Kiswahili is spread through BBC, TBC, KBC, UBC, VoA, DW, etc.


The English language as we know it today has come a long way. Some speakers of Germanic languages started it. The history of English can be traced from the invasion of three Germanic tribes; Angles, Saxon and Jutes. After the invasion the Celts, a people who dominated much of western and central Europe in the 1st millennium b.c, giving their language, customs, and religion to the other peoples of that area, were pushed to Scotland, Wells, Cornwall, and Ireland. English language is divided into three major phases;
(A) Old English (OE)
(B) Middle English (Md E)
(C) Modern English (MoE)
          This period extends from about 450 to 1066, the year of the Norman conquest of England. The Germanic tribes from Europe who overran England in the 5th century, after the Roman withdrawal, brought with them the Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, language, which is the basis of Modern English. They brought also a specific poetic tradition, the formal character of which remained surprisingly constant until the termination of their rule by the Norman-French invaders six centuries later.
          The people who invaded were called Angles out of which we get the names England and English. At the time, there emerged four dialects of Old English based on the Anglo-Saxon tribe divisions. These dialects were;
·                     Northumbrian –In the North of England
·                     Mercian-In the Midland
·                     Kentish-In the South East
·                     West-Saxon- In the South-West.
The event of Norman Conquest is very important when addressing the issue of MdE. The periodization of the conquest was intense in 1066. This year does not signify the boundary between OE and MdE. OE continued to be used for sometimes until it reached 1100 when the language had greatly changed that it was impossible to talk of OE. Again the variations were evident in vocabulary, new spelling conversions, grammar and phonology.
The dialects correspond to those in OE but Scholars have assigned different names to some of the dialects.
1 Kentish- remained as in OE
2 West Saxon- was then referred to as Southern
3 Northumbrian- became Northern
4Mercian split into two dialects
  Easten dialect (East Midland)
  Western dialect (West Midland)
Thus the dialects in Middle English were
1.       Kentish Dialect
2.      Southern Dialect
3.      Northern Dialect
4.      East Midland Dialect
5.      West Midland Dialect
Modern English is categorised by scholars into two phases. The reason being the fact that from the period MoE is believed to have started there are notable changes in the language as compared to the one used today.
There is no doubt that an early modern English period needs to be  recognized in the history of English. The jump from Middle English to Modern English would be too great without it. Its periodization is from 1500 to 1800. However, there is no consensus about when the Early Modern English began. Some opt for an early date 1400-50, just after Chaucer and the beginning of the pronunciation shift which identifies a major intelligibility barrier between Middle English and Modern English.
a.      The Great Vowel Shift (Gvs)
This was a massive sound change affecting the long vowels of English during the 15thC– 18thC.
  The GVS had long-term implication among other things, orthography, pronunciation etc.
  This was introduced by Otto Jespersen a Scandinavian philologists who made major contributions to the study of the English language. The writing was done in hand but later books were written.
  In the first two periods of the development of the English language the vowel sounds underwent very few changes. But the development of Middle English vowels into modern English is quite a different story indeed.
b.     Introduction of printing press.
In 1476 A.D, William Caxton (c.1422-1491), English merchant and diplomat turned to writing and translating and set up the first printing press in England. The new invention gave unprecedented impetus to the formation of a standard language and the study of its properties.
Apart from its role in fostering the norms of spelling and punctuation, the availability of printing provided more opportunities for people to write and gave their works a much wider circulation. One of the developments was the publication of a Dictionary in 1604 AD.
As a result more texts of the period have survived. Within the following 150 years it is estimated that nearly 20,000 books appeared.
c.      Influence of Shakespeare, W
The influence of Shakespeare was mostly in the lexicon. His works provided countless instances of the way English was developing at the time and illustrations from his poems and plays are unavoidable in any discussion of contemporary pronunciation, word formation, syntax and language use.
d.     Influence of King James Bible
The Authorized King James Bible was published in 1611, the year that Shakespeare retired from writing. The bible was appointed to be read in churches throughout the kingdom and it had an influence on the population and on the language.
During the 18thC, English lost the most noticeable remaining features of structural difference, which distance/separate the Early Modern English and Late Modern English. The distinction between Early MoE and Late MoE is the vocabulary. The vocabularies are more or less the same. Late MoE has many more words arising from two principle factors
1.       Industrial Revolution and Rise of Technology
2.      Rise of British Empire.

1.     Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Technology 
Britain was producing new products to colonies and so the inventory of new goods and machines led to introduction of more words. English relied on Latin and Greek words. E.g. oxygen, protein, nuclear, etc were coined between 19th C and 20th C. therefore the words were borrowed and coined to fix them into English.
2.       The Rise of British Empire
The emergence of Great Britain as a super power not only introduced English to the world but also the world to English language. During this period English language adopted many foreign words from French, German, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, West Africa, Kiswahili etc
This phenomenon has made English to have the largest number of vocabularies in the world.
      By the end of 19th C with but a few exceptions, the spellings, punctuations, and grammar are very close to what they are today.
       However, despite this apparent continuity, the language at the end of the 18th C, is by no means identical to what we find today. Many words, though spelt the same, had different meaning.

Linguistically speaking, no one dialect, or language is better, more correct, or more logical than any other. Rather every language variety is a rule-governed system and effective means of communication.
So Standard Dialect is the one which is used by the group that enjoys general respect, political and social prestige and economic power. i.e. the ruling class. Descriptively speaking, a standard dialect is a variety used by political leaders, the media, and speakers from higher socio-economic classes. It is taught in schools and to non-native speakers. Every language has at least one standard dialect that serves as the primary means of communication across dialects. In actuality, there is no one standard dialect instead many different varieties of what people consider the standard.
Socially speaking, a standard dialect is the dialect of prestige and power. E.g. in US the prestigious group corresponds to people in power, wealthy and educated. It is the speech of this group, therefore, that becomes standard, but there is nothing about the variety itself that makes it prestigious.
From a dozen of definitions available in different literatures, the following characteristics must be put forward.
1)      Standard dialect is a non-localized dialect. Some linguists call it a dialect, but a dialect of its own since it has no local base and there in nothing in its vocabulary or grammar which tells where it comes from.
2)     The linguistic features of Standard dialect are chiefly matters of grammar, vocabulary and orthography (spellings and punctuation).Pronunciation is ignored in this matter when speaking about Standard English.   
3)     Standard dialect is a variety that carries most prestige in a country e.g. from social class, material access, educational background, political strength etc. the dialect chosen by these people is considered to be standard.
4)     Standard dialect is used as a medium of Educational instructions. The prestige attached to Standard English for instance is recognised by adult members of the community and results them to recommend it to be used as a medium of Educational instructions. It will be widely disseminated thus widely understood. It is also taught to non native speakers.
5)     Although Standard dialect is widely understood, it is not widely produced. Only a minority of people use it e.g. the Media Broadcast.
6)     It is used at international conferences.
7)     It is globally used in both print and electronic media.
8)    It is well researched and used by scholars.
In this basis the Standard English of the English-speaking world can be defined as;
A minority variety identified chiefly by its vocabulary, grammar and orthography and which carries the most prestige and is widely understood.
There are some processes that are involved in the standardization of the language. Typical standard language will have passed through the following processes.
a.     Selection
A particular variety has to be selected out of many as the one to be developed into standard language. Such a variety may be an existing one and used by a class of people considered as important in the society. So a variety spoken by rich people, royal family, politicians, etc will be favoured for selection. For example during standardisation of Kiswahili Kiunguja dialect was selected.
b.     Codification
This is the practice of creating the norms of usage. Codification is done by agencies such as an Academy by writing grammar books and dictionaries to fix the variety so that everyone agrees on what is correct. This helps to familiarise people with the variety so that every ambitious citizen is likely to learn the correct form of the language.
c.     Elaboration of function.
The selected variety should be used in all functions associated with central government, management and with educational and scientific documents of all kinds and of course in various forms of literature. This may require extra linguistic items to be added to the variety especially technical words.
d.    Acceptance.
The variety has to be accepted by the relevant population as the variety of the community. In fact it can be taken as a national language. On being accepted the standard dialect serves as a strong unifying force to the state. For example in Tanzania Kiswahili is used as a unifying factor and a symbol of independence.
Both American English and British English are taken as major standards of English language.
It is important to understand that non-standard does not mean “substandard” or “inferior” as many perceive. Just as standard dialects are associated with the language of the “powerful” and “prestigious” class, non standard dialects are usually associated with the language of lower socio-economic class.
It is a non-linguistic notion to consider non-standard dialect as ‘bad’ and ‘improper’ ways of speaking as opposed to standard varieties which are said to be ‘good’ and ‘proper’.

1.       Why do you think language varies? Discuss using six reasons. (NECTA 2014)
2.      (a).   Briefly explain and exemplify the following terms. (NECTA 2014)
a.      Onomatopoeic words.
b.      First language.
c.       Symbols.
d.      System
e.      Reflexiveness.
(b). Why is Kiswahili an International Language? Explain by giving five points. (NECTA 2014)
3.      Drawing example from English language, explain five factors that can effect the development of language. (NECTA 2012)
4.      Discuss five characteristics of human language. (NECTA 2012)
5.      (a) Briefly define the following terms by giving one example. (NECTA 2012)
                                i.            Lingua franca
                             ii.            Standard language.
                           iii.            Speech community.
                            iv.            Accent.
                              v.            Mutual intelligibility.
6.      Which are the processes that are involved in standardizing a language? (NECTA 2012)
7.      With examples discuss six problems which may face an Englishman when learning Kiswahili in Britain. (NECTA 2013)
8.     (a) The following concepts are central to a definition of a language.
                                i.            System
                             ii.            Arbitrary
                           iii.            Vocal
                            iv.            Symbols
                              v.            Conventional.
Explain the meaning of each concept to clarify the definition of language. (NECTA 2013)
          (b) suggest five different ways which can improve the standard of English Language in Tanzanian primary and secondary schools.
9.      Verify the existence of a diaglossic situation in Tanzania, giving eight points with relevant examples. (NECTA 2013).
10.     Why is English an international language while Kisukuma is not? (NECTA 2009).



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