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Sheng and its effects on mainstream languages in Kenya


Date Posted: 2/22/2013 4:50:54 AM

Posted By: SimonMburu  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 838

Sheng is an East African patois originating from English, Swahili and other African languages. The slang started way back in the 1950s at the Eastlands slums of Nairobi city. Although initially the language was coined from Swahili and English only, Nowadays it has embraced other African languages mostly from the bantu group.

Currently sheng is the first language for most people born in urban centers across the whole of East Africa region. The language is spoken in the streets, some radio stations and even at school which raises the question, does it have any effect on the mainstream languages like English and Swahili. The answer is a pretty yes. Here are some of the effects brought about by sheng.

1. Poor class performance in mainstream languages. Many schools in Kenya teach students English and Swahili but the invasion of sheng has made students to perform rather poorly in these languages. University professors have also placed the blame on this slang as students concentrate more on new vocabularies in this ever-growing language. The slang has also corrupted many English and Swahili words. It has been observed that many primary school pupils in urban schools use some sheng phrases in their English and Swahili compositions.

2. It corrupts culture and tradition. Apart from corrupting the mainstream languages, it also erodes our African native cultures and traditions because youngsters don't have the interest of learning mothertongues. Most urban youth don't have any idea how sheng is taking away some precious native values, to them this is just part of life.

3. The language lacks moral values. Sheng is one of the most disgusting languages across the globe as it sounds aggressive with no respectful terms. Frequent users also lack respect when addressing older people.

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