Kiswahili Research in Kenyan Universities: Where Are We Now?
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The Depattment of Linguistics and African Languages, in which Kiswahili is a central subject, was established in the Faculty of Aits at the University College of Nairobi in 1969 Since then, at least five more depattments which ru·e devoted to the teaching and study of the Kiswahili language and Literature have been established in vruious Kenyan universities (see below). Most of these deprutments run post-graduate progrrunmes leading to MA. and PhD.. degrees. As a result, considerable reseru·ch activity related to both the Kiswahili language and literature has been going on This is evident from the dissertations that have been written and that continue to be written every yeat (see a list of the titles in the appendix).. Although supervised reseatch work has been going on in Kiswahili deprutments for many yeats, no attempt, to our knowledge, has been made to describe and evaluate the general direction in which the research effort is directed The main aim of this paper, is therefore, to briefly describe and assess the reseatch work that has been going on in these deprutments .. But before we discuss what has been taking place, it is perhaps imperative to understand the broad philosophy underlying the teaching and the study of Kiswahili in Kenya. The teaching of this language was, and still is, intended to achieve the following broad goals (see for instance the Ominde Commission of 1964 .. (a) To promote nationalism Nationalism has been defined by Fishman 1972: 266) as "an integrative movement which seeks to go beyond the piimordial ties of the family and locality and that forges wider bounds; a movement that stresses the inherent unity of populations that have never been awrue of such unity .. " (b) I o serve modernization, i.e., to function as an important tool of communication in a modem state in which there is a seru·ch for newer, more rationale, more efficient solutions to the problems oftoday and tomorrow. In order to make the realization of the above goals possible, the Ominde Report on Education of 1964 recommended not only the training of Kiswahili teachers, but also that a depattment concerned with the teaching and study of the language at the university college of Nairobi be struted in order to assist in the promotion of Kiswahili as a national language .. It is against this background that the reseruch effort on Kiswahili language and literature is predicated .. The remaining patt of this paper is divided into two major patts. Patt one will deal with supervised reseruch on Kiswahili Literature while patt two will deal with reseruch on