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Podcast: A Presentation of Tanzanian English

In this podcast episode you will meet Elida from Tanzania. She explains how English is used in her home country and introduces us to Swanglish - a unique blend of English and local languages. We also meet Associate Professor Anne Dahl from NTNU. The host of the podcast is Nicholas Emmanuel Carlie

Because of COVID-19 the recording of this podcast could not be done in a studio environment. This does at times affect the sound quality.

Illustration: Five flags inside speech bubbles are surrounding the title: 'Varieties of English'
Varieties of English

A Presentation of Tanzanian English

In this podcast episode, you will meet Elida from Tanzania. She explains how English is used in her home country and introduces us to *Swanglish* - a unique blend of English and local languages. We al...



Work with a partner or in a group. Discuss the questions and write down your answers in a shared document.

  1. What is your first impression of Elida's English? When you listen to her speak, what would you say makes her English accent unique? As you listen to her, write down words that she pronounces differently from what you have learnt in school.

  2. What is the status of English in Tanzania? Is this a language that everyone speaks? Is there a difference in how young and old people speak English?

  3. There are two official languages in Tanzania: Swahili (or Kiswahili) and English. But what is Swanglish? Do you know of any other variants of English in other parts of the world that has developed in the same way as Swanglish?

  4. How did most varieties of African English come about? And why have so many countries in Africa kept English as a language of communication?

  5. According to Anne Dahl, how is African English often presented in popular culture? How does Elita feel about the fact that different varieties of African English sometimes are used in international films and popular culture?

  6. With regard to the English language, why is South Africa a bit unique?

Find out:

What is the role of English on the African continent? Do a bit of research and find out:

  • How many countries have English as an official language? And how many people in Africa use English as a first or a second language?

  • Why was English introduced in African countries in the first place? And why is it still used today?

  • People in Tanzania often use Swanglish to express themselves. Could you find other examples on the African continent of English being mixed with local languages?

  • Can you find any Swahili words that have been incorporated into the English language?

Share your findings in class.

Role play:

Work in groups. Plan and do all research together before you put together the role play.

The flag of Tanzania.

Your family is visiting Tanzania for the first time and you would like to find out more about what you can see and do in the country. You belong to different age groups, and you have different interests, so you need to find something for everyone to do.

Make a role play where one of you is a Tanzanian tourist guide and the others are members of your family. Give everyone a role to play and shape the characters (e.g. moody teenage daughter, forgetful grandmother, grumpy father, nervous mother ...). Act out the conversation between the tourist guide and the family members.

Make sure that you include relevant information about Tanzania which will enhance your knowledge about the country, its history, and its culture.

Find appropriate props to enhance the theatrical experience. Use your imagination and have fun. Film the role play or present it in front of the class.

Relatert innhold

An article explaining the background of and the difference between a pidgin language and a creole language.

CC BY-SASkrevet av Både Og og Karin Søvik.
Sist faglig oppdatert 08.06.2021


Varieties of English