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The modernization of Swahili technical terminologies : an investigation of the linguistics and literature terminologies

Author: Mwansoko, Hermas

Awarding University: University of York, England

Level : DPhil

Year: 0

Holding Libraries: Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library ;

Subject Terms: Linguistics ; Swahili language ; Jargon ;


It is now more than a decade since `planned' modernization of Swahili technical terminologies for use in specialist communication was begun in Tanzania. But during all this period there has been no clear model of Swahili terminology expansion; the procedures involved in preparing and formally approving the terminology lists have been very cumbersome and time-consuming and are not based on any particular terminology theory. Terminology expansion in any language is only likely to succeed if it is based on a theoretical model designed to generate the required terminologies following the specific needs of the prospective register users. The present thesis is an attempt to fill the `theoretical gap' which is being experienced in the course of modernizing the Swahili technical terms in Tanzania. The thesis examines the theoretical and methodological aspects of terminological modernization as laid down by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and their implementation in the language modernization programmes of various countries, thereby providing a motivated framework for the study of terminology expansion in Swahili. The study discusses the ways in which Swahili technical terms are being coined, standardized and disseminated to the target populations. It critically evaluates these processes and their limitations and, on the basis of the ISO's terminology theory and the register users' attitudes towards the Swahili terminological modernization programme, proposes a more systematic approach to Swahili terminological modernization which reduces the time factor in the code elaboration process, facilitates a quicker and more effective dissemination of the terms and improves their chances of acceptance by the register users.