Society of African Journal Editors

Journal of Language, Technology & Entrepreneurship in Africa

THE LINGUISTIC LANDSCAPE OF URBAN TANZANIA: AN ACCOUNT OF THE LANGUAGE OF BILLBOARDS AND SHOP-SIGNS IN DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS

Authors: Amani Lusekelo, Chrispina Alphonce

Journal: Journal of Language, Technology & Entrepreneurship in Africa

In examination of language use in public domains in Tanzania, this paper articulates the state of multilingualism in the composition of signposts in district headquarters countrywide. The paper challenges the suggestion that Tanzania is primarily a Kiswahili speaking country. It also challenges the suggestion that Tanzania consists of English as an official language with limited domains of use. While it is claimed that ethnic community languages are a vehicular of communication in domains related to informal settings and homesteads, the paper argues for the presence of in linguistic landscape. Findings from five regions of Tanzania, namely, Arusha, Iringa, Kagera, Manyara and Mbeya indicate the dominance of bilingual Kiswahili-English signposts in urban centres. Further, findings display dominance of English-only signposts, which is a good testimony that this public domain makes use of English rather than Kiswahili. Furthermore, on the basis of font-size and font-colour, English words turn more prominent than Kiswahili words. Nonetheless, on the basis of word counts, Kiswahili is significantly used in bilingual signposts than English. Thus, this article concludes that the importance of English surpasses Kiswahili in the language use in bilingual signposts in urban Tanzania.      KEYWORDS : Billboards , Languages of urban Tanzania , Multilingualism , Shop-signs , Tanzania