On this page/Sur cette page... (hide)
Swahili is in the Swahili subgroup of Coastal Bantu (Guthrie G42). (Webbook)
Ethnologue lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, G, Swahili (G.40)
It is a major language spoken in many dialect forms throughout East Africa, spoken primarily in the Sahil (coastal) region of East Africa, from northern Mozambique (including the Comoros, though dialects there are rather different), throughout Tanzania and Kenya and north to mid-Somalia. (Webbook, with modifications)
Map from Wikipedia showing areas where Swahili is spoken:
Over 50 million (UCLA-LMP)
According to Ethnologue:
There is a standard (literary) form of Swahili, and many dialectal variants (see Heine, 1980, for more details). (Webbook)
According to UCLA-LMP:
"A large number of dialects are distinguished among Swahili speakers and scholars. They are almost without exception all mutually intelligible, differing primarily in certain phonological and lexical features. The dialect of Swahili referred to as Standard Swahili was established in 1930 by the Inter Territorial Language Committee and was based on the coastal dialect of Zanzibar, Kiunguja. The standard language spoken in Tanzania is often referred to as Kisanifu.
"Besides Kiunguja, other Swahili linguistic variants (or dialects) are Kimakunduchi (or Kihadimu) and Kitumbatu (both spoken in the rural parts of Zanzibar); Kipemba (Pemba Island); Kimtang'ata (Tanga Town and environs); Kimrima (along the coast of Tanzania, opposite Zanzibar); Kimvita and other related dialects (Mombasa and environs); Kiamu, Kipate and Kisiu, etc. (the Lamu Archipelago); Kitikuu (the Lamu Archipelago and along the coasts of northern Kenya into southern Somalia); Kivumba (Wasini Island and Vanga); Kingwana (RepDemCongo); and Kingozi, a literary dialect used in classical Swahili poetry."
Swahili is the official language of Tanzania and an official language in RDC and Kenya. It is a language of instruction in Tanzania and is used extensively in East Africa as a trade language or as a lingua franca. Swahili is heard on various national and international radio broadcasts. Swahili periodicals include, in Kenya, Taifa Leo (daily), Chemsha Bongo (weekly), Afrika ya Kesho (monthly), and various trade and religious papers. In Tanzania there are two dailies, Kipanga and Uhuru, as well as numerous other periodicals. Literature in Swahili is extensive. (Webbook)
Swahili is relatively standard in form [need verification/more information] but several aspects of standardization of the language have been the subject of discussion: sociolinguistic aspects, lexical issues (e.g., loans, new terms), and grammar (Miehe 1991).
Swahili has a standardized orthography, although there are slight variations among countries. (Webbook) [details?]
A Roman-based alphabet has been used for writing Swahili since the mid-nineteenth century. It was adopted and regularized into a standard orthography in the 1930s. Some of the older generation of speakers along the coast and on the coastal islands still use the Arabic-based orthography, but it is not being learned by the young. (UCLA-LMP)
Apparently the recent Mandombe script has been adapted for Swahili. It is not clear to what extent it may actually be used, however.
Common fonts used for English are all that is necessary for the standard Latin orthography.
No special Swahili keyboards are known of. An English keyboard can be used.
There is a fair amount of Swahili content on the web, although Swahili still ranks below many less widely spoken European languages.
Jambo OpenOffice in Swahili, localised by KiLinux (klnX), which is an Open Swahili Localization Project started by the joint effort between the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and the Swedish IT consultancy company, IT +46.
Microsoft has localised
There is a linguistically very advanced Swahili Spellchecker (based upon finite-state transducers), which comes as a standalone, or integrated in MS Word, from Lingsoft, http://www.lingsoft.fi/, with further development into information retrieval and machine translation, by Arvi Hurskainen. As of June 2007 this was licensed to Microsoft for use in its products (Lingsoft).
Swahili software for children: a drawing program called "TuKsi Koti la Rangi" (Tux Paint in Swahili). See:
Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), a company operating in Dem. Rep. of Congo, has developed a localised package called "Kit A12+" for mobile phones including Swahili. See http://big5.fmprc.gov.cn/gate/big5/cg.china-embassy.org/fra/jmgx/t286576.htm .
See also Kamusi Project's list of Swahili Software at http://kamusiproject.org/?q=software
Swahili (specific) [?]
Locale data has been filed with CLDR for Swahili (sw):
The Local Language Speech Technology Initiative (LLSTI) http://www.llsti.org/ has a text-to-speech (TTS) system for Swahili. This was developed as a collaboration among LLSTI, the University of Nairobi, and the Open Knowledge Network (OKN). Its main application so far has been in SMS text messages on cellphones. This effort is now being run by a local organisation, "Mobile for Good" (M4G) http://www.mobile4good.com
The Kamusi Project "Internet Living Swahili Dictionary" is a longstanding collaborative online project for Swahili and Swahili-English dictionaries: http://www.kamusiproject.org
Swahili Advanced Computer Applications (message board): http://www.quicktopic.com/37/H/mCpXBt3d7qQN
AfricanLanguages.com "Kiswahili (Swahili)" page http://www.africanlanguages.com/kiswahili/
"Swahili" (TLT, Penn State Univ.) http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/bylanguage/swahili.html
(Resources for localisation, other than those listed above, 6.2, 7)
Swahili would be a logical language in which to begin localization of more technically specific applications, such as:
Lingsoft (2007), "Lingsoft licenses state-of-the-art Kiswahili spell checker to Microsoft Corp.," http://www.lingsoft.fi/?doc_id=271&lang=en
Miehe, Gudrun (1991) "Problems of Grammatical Standardization in Modern Swahili." In N. Cyffer et al, Language Standardization in Africa. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. Pp. 221-234.
Omniglot, "Swahili (kiSwahili)," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/swahili.htm
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Swahili," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=swh
SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
Stockholm Challenge, "Kilinux," http://www.stockholmchallenge.se/data/kilinux
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
UCLA, Language Materials Project, "Swahili (profile)," http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=17&menu=004
Wikipedia, "Kiswahili," http://sw.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiswahili
______, "Swahili language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swahili