Cultural transfer from Europe and Asia to Africa: Evidence from borrowed lexicon adapted into Kiswahili
Iribemwangi, P I
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Language is used to pass on or transfer informatio n from one group to another. The aspects that are passed on include people’s beliefs, their behavior, th eir objects as well as other aspects that are common to a specific group or society. These as pects are the culture of that soci ety and they are both tangible and intangible. Through culture, people and groups define themselves, conform to so ciety's shared values, and contribute to society. Using language in contact approach, this paper argues that by studying lexical items borrowed and adapted into Kiswahili from forei gn languages, it is possible to identify aspects of foreign cultures that have been transferred to Africa. It also argues that such aspects have become part of Kiswahili speakers’ way of life. Using a corpus of bor rowed lexicon, the paper concludes that there have been “unbroken ocean currents” that have transported distant cultures and connected them with Africa and the world of Kiswahili speakers.