Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peter Mhunzi- TEDxDAR

"My goal is to encourage Tanzanians to value equal bilingualism"

He's talking about English and Kiswahili and how we treat them in Tanzania through the lens of diglossia. This is some deep stuff, and something I know that many of us Anglophones struggle to master in an Kiswahili+'Tribal'tongue society. In diglossia:

- The high language is that of 'governance' has formal prestige
- Low language is the language of everyday discourse

Not hard to see what's happening here, if you have ever wondered why our leaders speak fluent Kiswanglish. Worth noting of course: TEDxDAR is being conducted in English. More importantly- you cannot fully participate in the Intellectual Life of Tanzania if you avoid English. You cannot fully participate in the Everyday Life of Tanzania if you avoid Kiswahili. There lies the rub.

This is the first time I have heard someone acknowledge, define and promote the inescapable fact that Bilinguality is a better and more honest state of being for Tanzania than the often politically-motivated adherence to one language.

Fantastic talk by a fantastic speaker- Peter Mhunzi.

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