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Nurse,D. & Walsh,M. T. 1990.

'Chifundi andVumba:Two HeartAttack Patientswho


Survivedo,paperpresentedtatlrc Interndional Symposiumon LanguageDeath in East
,4frica, Bad Homburg,Germany,January1990.

Chifundiand Vumba:two heartattackpatientswho survived

DerekNurseandMartinWalsh

1 Introduction
Thetargetsof thisstudyareChifundi andVumba, twosmallanddwindling Swahilidialect
communities, spokenon thecoastof southern Kenya,andof southern Kenya/northern Tanzania,
respectively. Thepurposeis to investigate (a)certaininnovations, mainlyphonological, in
ChifundiandVumba,innovations whichgivethema distinctly non-Swahili appearance and(b)
modelsthatmightexplainthediachronic appearance of lheseinnovations. We suggestthatthese
innovations derivefromhistorical interference fromDigo,a neighboring language.
ln all,four(Bantu) languages/dialects areinvolved: Chifundi(Ch),Vumba(Vu),Digo(Di),
andSegeju(Se).Ch andVu areSwahili(Sw)dialects.Di is a southern Mijikenda (MK)dialect.
Sw andMK(thusthe mainthreetargets)aretypologically similarandcloselyrelated.Se (of
Tanzania, seefollowing) is todaya formof Di,bul mostlikelyresulted froma language shiftinto
Di by a community oncespeaking Daisu,a member of theCentral KenyaBantugroup(= Kikuyu,
Kamba,Meru,etc).TherewerestilloldSegejuonthecoastin 1935whostillspokeDaisu
(Dammann 193617:231-3). Ch,Vu,andDieachhavesomeinternalvariation.
Ch is spokenin a stringof Kenyacoastalvillages between theMkurumiji andtheRamisi
Rivers, at twovillages (Mkwiro, ya
Nyuma Maji)onWasinilsland,andat Aleni,Yungi,andNgoa
justto thewestof theShimoni Peninsula. Vu is spokenat Wasinion Wasinilsland,in most
villages on theShimoni Peninsula, andin a stringof coastalvillages between approximately
Majoreni (Kenya) andtheBomaPeninsula (Tanzania). Wearenotclearexactly whereSe is
spokenbutmostlikelyin thegeneral hinterland between theborderandTangaTownin Tanzania.
Di is spokenbetween justsouthof Mombasa (Kenya) andTanga,mostlyin thehinterland, butat
somepointsDi settlements comedownto thecoast.
The1979Kenyacensusregistered 1519"Swahili/Shirazi" in KwaleDistrict, thatis,
1519peoplechoseto identify themselves to thecensustakersas "Swahili" or "shirazi"
on the
Kenyacoastbetween Mombasa andtheborderwithTanzania. Since"Swahili/Shirazi" in this
contextis moreor lesssynonymous with"Chifundi" plus"Vumba", therewereca.1519people
wholabelled themselves as Vumbaor Chifundi in Kenya.Giventherateof increase of theEast
Africanpbpulation, andthatthereareseveral "Vumba" villageson thenorthern Tanzanian @ast,
thetotaf"Chifundi/Vumba" population is probably between2,OOO and3,000. 120,024 people
registered as "Digo"in Kenya(101,336) andTanzania (18,688). Segejunumbers arenot
clear,as wewillseebelow.
Theliberaluseof inverted commas in thepreceding paragraph is meantto express doubt
aboutthe interpretation of thesefigures.Inthisareathereis oftena discrepancy betweenwhat
peoplespeakandhowtheyidentify themselves ethnically. Forexample, nearly2O,OOO people
identified themselves as "Segeju" in thelastTanzanian census (1969) thatstillreferredto
ethnicity, plusseveralthousand in Kenya.Butin Kenyanoobserver in thelastdecades hasbeen
ableto identifyanyonewhospeaksSe:in Kenyaall "Segeju" speakonlySw and/orDi - in Kenya
thereareno Se-speakers left. InTanzania in themiddle1970s,NurseandPhilippson wereable
to collectSe datathatindicated thatat leastsome "segeju" spokea formof Di different from
formsof Didescribed elsewhere, so in Tanzania Se mightbedescribed as a Didialect.Similarly,
whenoneof Walsh's co-workers in Kenyainterviewed 50 Vu-speaking womenin Shimoni, they
all identified themselves as "Digo".Hencethefigurescitedabovedo notreflectaccurately
language affiliation,
of whichwe in facthavenodetailedbreakdown. Ourbestguesstimate would
bethenumber of Vu (andpossibly Ch)speakers oughtto be slightly higherthantheethnic
identification suggests, andthattheDifigurewouldbecorrespondingly lower.Although we have
nowayof knowinghowmanypeoplespeakSe in northern Tanzania, thefactthatthe informant
L
whosupplied thedatalo NurseandPhilippson
wasyoungwouldsuggest thatthereis stillan
activeSe speaking
community, possibly
severalhundred
or thousand
strong.

Thesediscrepancies betweenlanguage andethnicatfiliation appearto be largelythe resultof


historicallanguage shifts.The"Segeju" originallyspokeDaisu.Mostshiftedto Di,but some,
eitherdirectly, or throughDi,movedto various formsof Sw,including Ch andVu:hencepeople
whoclaimto "be"Segeju,whilebeingfirstspeakers of oneof theothertongues.WhilemostDigo
haveretained theirlanguage, someshiftedto Sw,including Ch andVu:hencepeoplewhoidentify
themselves as DigowhilehavingVu (and,presumably, Ch)as theirfirstlanguagel.
Finally, as wewillseebelow,theChwereonce"@nquered" by theVu. Thelatterwerethus
thedominant localforce, andundoubtedly someChspeakers shifted to Vu. Intheseshiftsin
general, it is thenon-Sw communities whichshifted to Sw,andin particular to Vu2.
Eventhe modified figuresof language abovebegthequestionof whatit meansto
affiliation
saythata personis a speakerof oneof thesedialects/languages. Thisinvolves twoissues:how
wellpeoplespeaktheirownfirsttongue, andthepatterns of bi-or multi-lingualism in the
area.
Howwellpeoplein thisareaspeaktheirownfirsttonguenotonlydependson the usual
variables (wheretheywerebornandraised,wheretheynowwork,educational level,malevs
female,etc)butalsoonthegeneral arealpatterns of language use. Downto thebeginning of the
presentcenturythedominant culturalandlinguistic normsin theareawerethoseof Zanzibar
andMombasa. Mombasa hasbeenthemostimportant lownon thecoastsincethebeginning of the
sixteenth century, andZanzibar rosein stature duringthenineteenth century.Small
communities suchas ChandVuweremuchinfluenced bytheseexternal norms.Manypeoplein
theareatraveloftento Mombasa. During
thesecondhalfof thiscentury Standard Sw (StSw)has
largelytakenoverthe roleotZanzibari Sw. Allcommunities on thecoastaredailyexposedto
StSw,throughschool,theradio,newspapers, books,officials of thegovernment, @nstantcontact
withoutsiders, andmembers of theirowncommunities wholeaveto findworkelsewhere and
thenreturn.Theresultis a verymixedpattern of language use,andan increasing numberof
peoplewhoaredo notcontrol theirowndialect fully.Thisis mosttrueof youngpeople,adult
males(whotravelmorethanwomen), andpeoplein largercenters:womenandmorerural
dwellers havemoreabilityintheirowntongue.Thisgeneral situationaffectsprimari[Chand
Vu:in theearly1980s, oneof theauthors hadtrouble findinganyonein northern Tanzania who
spokeanything likea "pure"Vu. EvenDiis notexempt, astheDi havebeenin constant contact
withSwcommunities forseveral centuries,andlslamized sinceat leastthe1gthcentury.
Thissituation, plusthefactthatthefourcommunities havebeencoexisting in theareaforat
leastfourcenturies, hasalsoledto considerable bi-/multi-lingualism.Mostor all Di,and
presumably theTanzanian Se,speaktheirownlanguage andoneor moreformsof Sw. Many
(younger, male,urban)firstspeakers of ChandVuarealsofluentin StSwand/orMombasa Sw.
Sw speakers tendto speakonlyformsof Sw,whereas the non-swahili tendto speaktheirown
language plusa form,or forms,of Swahili.

2 Historicalbackground
Theconventional history
of theareaunderconsideration is asfollows3.
A lineof Swcommunities hasbeenin situforovera millenium alongtheEastAfrican
littoral.Stretching
overa thousand milesfromnorthto south,it waskeptintactby strong
economic, cullural,
religious,
andfamilyties.Thearchaeological record,supportedby a fairly
detailed oraltradition,
indicatesthatVucommunities (Vumba Khuu,seemap)haveexistedin
situsinceat leastca AD 1400.Whilethearchaeological evidence forChcommunities is harder
to interpret,number of considerations makeit likelythatCh settlements areequallyold. The
difficulty
of distinguishing
VufromChsettlements at thatremove, andthedispersed natureof
thesettlements plusthe relativeabsence of stone/coral buildingsin thearea(T.Wilsonp.
comm)makeit difficultto estimate thesizeof theseearlypopulations. Buttheverynatureof
thesettlements andtheabsence of earlyreference to themmakesit likelythattheywerenot
large,withpopulations probably hardlylargerthantoday's.At a pointunclearbutmost
probably duringthesixteenth century, theDi moveddown.from thenorthandrapidly occupied
..,
)
thehinterland.Finally,
duringthelatesixteenth,andearlyseventeenth, theSe (or
century,
Daisu)arrivedfromthenorthandsettledin the hinterland.
Intheearlydecades of theseventeenth
century,theVucommunity expandedandwiththeaid
of DiandSe,conquered theCh,capturingmanyof theirmainvillages,
andreducingthemto a

subordinate role. Thehighpointof Vu powerwasreachedin therestof theseventeenth, and


duringthefirstpartof theeighteenth, cenlury,whentheyplayedan activeeconomic rolealong
lhe coast,andwerethedominant politicalforce in the regionsouthof Mombasa.Thelater
eighteenth, andthenineteenth, century wasa periodof decline, in whichseveralfactors seemto
haveplayeda role:an increasingly marginaleconomic and political role,as smallcommunities
weresidelined by therisingsizeandpowerof Mombasa andZanzibar, internalpolitical
squabbles, attacks by theMaasai, severalfamines, anda number of epidemics. Vu in thepresent
centuryplayslittleor no rolein themajoraffairsof thecoast,considerable out-migration
occurs,andthedialectitselfis increasingly threatened by thespreadanduseof StSw.
Weknowmuchlessof thehistoryof theChcommunity, butit wouldappearto mirrorthat
of Vu,exceptthatit startedfroma lesserpolitical andeconomic basein theseventeenth century.
Although we knowequallylittleaboutthe historyof theSe community (. Sperling?),
certainfactscanbe deduced.Initially, al thestartof theseventeenth century,theyandthe Di
wereemployed by theVu in theirsubjugation of theChi,suggesting a considerable demographic
andmilitary presence, andalsoan intermingling of theiraffairs withthoseof theDi,withwhom
theylivetodayin thesameor adjacent villages.Judging by scattered reports, theSe stillseem
to haveplayedanoccasional militaryroledownto thenineteenth century.Theyalsoplayedan
activeeconomic rolein thetradenetworks leadingfromthecoastto theinterior.Thereseemsto
havebeenmoreSe presence in Tanzania thanin Kenya,wheretheirmainsettlement areawasthe
Shimoni Peninsuly'Unfortunate involvement in thepolitical struggles between Mombasa and
Zanzibar, andin thepolicies of theBritish colonialpower, in thesecondhalfof thenineteenth
century, ledto thedestruction of some(many?) of theircoastal villages in Kenya.
WhentheSefirstarrived alongthehinterland in theearlyseventeenth century, it is likely
thattheywerestillspeaking Daisu,theiroriginal language, whicheventodayis spokenby a
remnant community of severalthousand some25 milesfromthecoast,at andnearBwiti,in
northeastern Tanzania. Thereappearthereafter lo havebeentwoSecommunities, oneon the
coast,theotherupat Bwiti,constant contactbetween thetwo,anda leakingof peoplefromBwiti
downto thecoasl.Partsof thecoastal community weremostlikelybilingual in DaisuandDi,
theirformof thelatterbeingSe. Wedo notknowexactly whentheuseof Daisuon at leastthe
Kenyacoastwasgivenup,butthedestruction of Sevillages in thelatenineteenth century,
together withthefactsthatin 1935onlya fewoldpeoplestillspokethelanguage andtodayno
coastalcommunity usesit anymore,wouldsuggest a progressive lossduringthelatterdecades of
thelastcentury andthefirsthalfof thiscentury.Wealsodo notknowwhenor whytheuseof Se
wasabandoned on theKenyacoast- or whetherit in factwaseverusedon thatcoast! Sincethe
mainareaof Daisusettlement onthecoastwasratherin Tanzania, it is possible thatSe as such
neverexisted on thesouthern Kenyacoast.Ontheotherhand,because Se stillexistson the
Tanzanian coast,andbecause a shiftto Di ("Segeju"), or at leastbilingualism in Di,by the
coastalDaisuin Kenyawouldhavebeenprobable duringtheircenturies of co-existence, it is
possible therewasa KenyaSe. lf it didexist,then- sinceeconomically Di andSewerevirtually
indistinguishable, andsinceSe numbers inwhatis nowKenyawereprobably alwayslessthanin
Tanzania - thesefactors, plusthedispersal of theirseparate identity resulting fromthe
destruction of theirvillages, wereprobably responsible ontheKenyacoastforthedisappearance
of Se at muchthesametimeasthatof Daisu.
TheDiarethelargest of thefourcommunities, butdespite theirsize,seemto haveplayeda
somewhat secondary roleto Vumbaupto thepresentcentury.Because of theirgeographical
presence in theentirehinterland fromsouthof Mombasa to Tanga,andtheiradjacency to the
Swahilitrading communities of thecoast,theiraffairshavelongbeeninextricably tiedto the
economic andpoliticalfortunes of thosecommunities. Thisconnection to thecoastledto their
lslamization in the19thcenlury, which gave theSwahilicommunities yetanother holdover
them,as thecenlersof lslamic culture werefirmlyrootedin theSwahili communities. Mostly
bilingualin oneor otherformof Swtoday,theyhavelikelybeensoforseveral centuries.
LI
Insummary, in non-linguistic
terms,thetwomostsignificant
communities
fromtheearly
17th,to the19th,centurywereVuandDi,theformerbecause of theire@nomic,political,
cultural,
andreligiouspower,thelatteron account
of theirnumbersandomnipresence. TheCh
weresubordinate to theVu,andtheSeto bothDiandVu. Thisallimplies thatthenormsof Vu
andDi,in thatorder,arelikelyto havebeendominant, andthatanylanguageshiftwouldhave

beenoutof Se,Ch,andDi,in thatorder,intoVuandDi,in thatorder.Aswe willseeshortly,


examination
of thelinguistic onlypartlysupports
evidence thesehypotheses.

3.0 The linguisticpicture


Although lhe maintargetsof thisinvestigation
areVu andCh,we nowlookat eachof the four
languages in turnto get a completepictureof thediachronic
interactions
betweenthem.

3.1 Segeju
We useSe hereto refernotto Daisu,butto theformof Di apparently
stillusedin Tanzania,
and possibly
formerly
on theKenyacoast.Ofthefourtongues underexamination,it is theone
forwhichwe haveleastdata. Thisdataderivesfroma wordlistof ca 800itemsfilledout in the
1970sby a TanzanianSefromMongavillage, followed bya shortinterview
focussing on details
of phonology
andmorphology. Themainfeatures of thisdataare:
- lexically, phonologically, andmorphologically, thisSe mostresembles Di(Nurse1982),
specifically southern Di (seebelow).
- whilethemajority of lexisis sharedwithDi,a veryfewSe lexicalitemsaresharedwith
Daisualone,andthephonology and/orgeographical distribution of theseitemssuggests originin
Daisu.ln slightly morecases,itemsaresharedby Se,Di,andDaisu4.
- of the800iexicalitemsat least150areborrowed fromSw. In a modified versionof
Swadesh's 100-word listat least13%is borrowed fromSw. As we seebelow,thephonology of
Vu andCh is quitedistinctive fromthatof therestof Sw:on thisbasis,a singleitemin 800is
borrowed fromVuor Ch. Thatis,VuandCharenotthesourceof Sw loansin Se. Themajority of
loansfromSw arefromtheZanzibar dialectUngujaor fromStSw.
- theSe informant wasmorecavalier in writing downphonologicaldetails thanotherMK
informants completing thesamelist:thus,affricates weresometimes rendered as theequivalent
fricatives, fll and[r] weresometimes usedinterchangably, thevoicedbilabialfricativewas
rendered ditferentially, etc. 15yearslaterit is hardto knowwhether thiswastheresultof the
informant's incomplete controlofthelanguage, or of hislackof experience in writingit down,
or whether it mirrored thestateof Seat thattime.At anyrate,it seemsto suggest thatthe
informant waslessawareof normsthanotherMKinformants. lt couldbe notedherethata Di
linguist at theUniversity of DaresSalaam oncereferred disparagingly to Se as a "garbled" form
of Di.
- theuseof ill and[4justmentioned is of particular interest. AllSwahili dialects are
"f-fanguages", thalis,theregular reflexof Proto-Bantu (PB).l (Guthrie's ./dl)in inherited
itemsislll (orzero).Withtheexception of Di andSe,lhe regular reflexes of this.l in
inherited itemsin all MKdialectswereoriginally [r] (now/r/)in thecontextof frontvowels,
otherwise [] (now /l/):statistically
lll predominates. In Se andDi,especially in southernDi
(thetypeof Di spokenwherethereareor wereadjacent Se communities), thedistribution of /l/
andlrlis opaque, notfollowing anyobvious or regular pallern,butwitha preponderance of
lrl. ln Daisuanditsrelatives in Central Kenya, theregular reflexof PB*l in inherited words
is/r/. Thisbehaviour of Seandsouthern formsof Diwouldseemto suggest a transfer of
articulatory or allophonic habitsfromDaisu,as nootherlanguage in thewholeareatreats*l in
thisway. Whether thesehabitsweretransferred directly intosouthern Di,or initiallyintoSe,
andlaterintosouthern Di,is notclear.

3.2 Digo
At alllinguistic
levelstheMKdialects, includingDi,arerelatively
homogeneous.Di has
undergone certainminorinnovations notsharedby thenorthernMK(Nurse1982).As mostof
thesearenotattributable to Sw influence
we do notdiscussthemhere.Sw-inducedfeaturesare:
- lexicostatistically,
Di is themostdeviant of theMKdialects.Thelexicalinnovations
in Di
aremainlytheresultof bonowing, froma varietyof sources,
mostobviously fromSw. ln the
modifiedversionof Swadesh's 1OO-wordlist,roughlythesame% derivesfromSw as in Se. ln
thetotalof ca 1600Di itemsavailable to us severalhundredareborrowed fromSw. As for Se,
mostof thesearevisiblyfromUngujaor StSw.A veryfew(5 ?l arefromVu or Ch. ThusStSw
-tetema'shiver, tremble'would regularlycorrespond to -(h)e(h)ema in Di but-rerema in Vu
andCh:in thiscasetheactualDiformis -rerema, a loanfromVu/Ch.(. CanMWprovide details
# of specificvocabulary
- an interesting
fields,e.g.farming? localflora,fauna.)
phonologicalfeature canbe observed in Di. Di speakers havean abilityto
manipulate thephonological codebetween DiandSw. Numerous itemsin Diwererecorded in two
forms,onea Swshape,theotherthecorresponding Dishape: whenaskedaboutthis,speakers
seemedto thinkit unimportant, andwereoftenunableto identifytheSwformas such. Some
wordsknownto be recentloansin Swalsoappeared in Di,butin thecorresponding Di shape,that
is,Dispeakers areeasilyableto transmute Sw material phonologically intoDi. Thisis
presumably theresultof widespread andlongstanding bilingualism in Di andSw.
- whereDi ditfersin detailsof nominal or verbalmorphology fromthe restof MK,mostof
thebasicdifferences do notappearto resultfromborrowing fromSw. A fewdetailsdo originate
in Sw:thus,thereplacement of theMK-kala'be(copula, auxiliary)'bygeneralSw-wa,andthe
lossof 3sgverbalsubject w- (stillpresent
in thelatenineteenth century).
- therearecertainsmalllexicaland phonologicaldifferences between northernDi andthe
southern Di spokenroughly fromtheChareain KenyadownintoTanzania. Whilesomeof these
cannotbeattributed to external influence,a fewcan.Thusa fewlexicalitemspresent in
southern, butnotnorthern, DiaresharedwithSe (andoftenDaisu), sowereprobably borrowed
fromSe. As pointed outin 3.1,a higherincidence of/r/ in southern Di pointsto a Se and/or
Daisusource.

3.3 Chifundi
ChandVusharea number of innovations whichdistinguish themfromtherestof Swand
makethemmorelikeMl(Di (section 3.5).Inthissection we lookonlyat Ch-specific features,
andin 3.4,at Vu-specific features.
TheSwcoastal dialectscanbedivided intoNorthern andSouthern. Ch is themostsoutherly
of theNorthern Dialects,Vuthemostnortherly of theSouthern Dialects.Justbecause thetwo
communities havesatat theNorthern-Southern divideforcenturies, bothhavenaturally
absorbed features fromtheotherset. Chis uniquein havinga number of specific
features that
canbe attributed neitherto Northern or Southern Dialects,norto Di or Se. As thesearehardly
likelyto havedeveloped in thelastfourcenturies, whenCh hasbeenhardpressed by theother
communities in thearea,thisis a reasonforthinking thatChhasa longerindependent history
thanthearchaeology wouldsuggest (see1.0).Because of intrusionbyVu,Di,(andSe ?) in the
lastfourcenturies, theChcommunity is todaysplitgeographically intothree:Funzi5, spoken
between theRamisiandMkurumiji Rivers;what couldbecalledWasini, spokenin twovillages
on eastern Wasinilsland;andreportedly in a fewvillages justto thewestof theShimoni
Peninsul{.As we havevirtually nodataforthelatter,it is ignored.FortheFunziandWasini
we havea certain timeperspective,,since Lambert (1958)is basedondatacollected in the
1920s, whereas Walshhasworkedin theareain thelasttwoyears.Walshreports theWasini
Chiclaimto haveno DiorSesettled amongthem- whereas theFunzivillages aresurrounded by
Di (andformerly Se ?) settlements. Relevant features specificto Ch,or witha distributionthat
reportedly differsfromWasinitoFunzi,are:

of velarsbeforefrontvowel(cf.cifyu'knife',masicini
- palatalization 'poor(< Arabic)',
mce'woman', -fyajia'sweep',mjeni'guest'with
otherSwkisu,maskini, mke,-fagia,mgeni).
Thispalatalizationis a regular
featureof MKdialects(except themostnortherly MK)including
DiandSe. lt alsooccursinJomvu,a Swdialectnorthof Mombasa, alsoadjacent to theMKarea.
Lambert saysit is moreregular in WasinithanFunzi.
- Lambert (1958:16)describes thefouranterior of Ch (f,v, s, z) as being
fricatives
b
affricated.In generalMKhasmoresegments thatareclearlyaffricated
thanSw:so MKts = Sw
MK dz = 5e7 9j6. However, the fouianterior
fricatives
of Sw and MK correspondregularly
ry,
(Swf, v, s, z = MKf, v, s, z),so it is unclearhowtheseChaffricated soundsareto be explained.
Walshhasobserved thattodayonlyFunzihasthesesounds,whereasLambertimpliesthatin the
1920stheywerepresent throughout Ch.
- Lambertreportsthattheformof the3plin Funzicanbe wa-or a-,whereasWasini,Vu,

andallotherSw hasonlywa-. All MKhavea-,theresultof regularlossof /w/. L-lossalso


in otherwords,e.g.kaidi'habit'(cf StSwkawaida,
appearsspasmodically fromArabic).
3.4 Vumba
WithintheSwspectrum,
Vu hasa number
of specific
features,
butnonethatis uniquely
attributable
to anyMK.

3.5 Chifundiand Vumba


ChA/usharea numberof features withMK,features whichsetthemoff fromthe restof Sw:
- oneis a setof lexisthatfor reasons of phonology or geographical distribution mustbe
borrowed fromMK. Wearenolsurehowextensive thissetis,butin the1o0-word listthe
following werenoted:-ili'two'(Sw -wili,MK-iriby regular w-loss), -osi'all,(MK-osi,Sw
-ote),-aupe'white' (otherSwhas-eupe,whichshowstheinherited initialvowel,whereas
somenorthern (') MKhaveinnovated initial[a]),rombo'breast'(occurs todayin all northern
MK('), whereallSwdialects haveanother word),wia'song' (theMKword,whereSw hasa
derivative of -imba'sing'),andpossibly wordsinvolving g-losssuchas mongo'back'andmbeu
'seed'(allMKhaveg-lessforms,
whereSouthern Sw hasmgongo andmbegu).Somebutnotall
of theseitemsalsooccurin Mtang'ata, theSwdialectjustto thesouthof Vu.
- all MKdialectshavea regularlabiovelarization processwherebysequences of /kw,gw,
mWarerealised as [kp,gb,'mw]. lt mightbe notedthatthisprocesshasbeenreported as
beingsomewhat lessregular in Dithanin morenortherly MK(.). Although theprocess itselfis
notactivein Chor Vu,theydo showseveral lexicalized
formsof it (alsoin Mtang'ala to the
south):thus-bwa'fall'(other Sw-gwa),anda passive suffix-bwa(elsewhere -gwa).
Lambert reports thesecasesascharacterizing theWasini, ratherthantheFunzi,dialectof Ch.
- oneverbmorphological featurethatcharacterizes ChandVu is a -jambwa-'not yet'
morpheme, forinstance Vukha-jambwa-(ku)renda'he hasn'tdoneyet'.Thisoccursin noother
Swdialect, butthroughout MKwefindformssuchasGiryama kha-dzangwe-kuhenda'he hasn,t
doneyet'. MKldzl corresponds regularly to Sw andVu/g1/,andif we assumethatVu mbwis a
lexicalised formof thelabiovelarization process, thenonlytheMKlel andVulalis irregular.
ln MKat leastthisis a compound, grammaticalised, morpheme (-dza-'recentpast'<'come,plus
-nQwe- = ?).
- themostsignificant featureof ChandVu,however, is whathashappened to PB*p and*t.
Withinthesubgroup of Bantulanguages ("Sabaki") to whichSwandMKbelong, oneof themost
significant isoglosses is oneinwhichPB(andProto-sabaki) .p and.t lenitedin MK(also
Pokomo andComorian), butwereretained in Sw(alsoElwana andMwani).Virtually allsw
dialects havekept'p,t eventoday,andin thefewthathavenot,theshiftsareminorandrecent.
Comparative evidence fromMK,Pokomo, andComorian strongly suggests thatthelenition wasa
sharedprocess thatoccurred in themidor latefirstmillenium AD,andproceeded thus:
Proto-Bantu Proto-Sabaki. EarlyMK. Laterdevelopments
Swahili Pokomo/Comorian
*p *p .f 8
E > V in Comorian,southernMK (Di)
> h in northernMK
*t 't -rh > r in Comorian
(=vl fricative
r) > h in allMK,somePokomo
--t

Thelastcolumnis meantto indicate thatlater,afterMK,Pokomo, andComorian splitup,the


+
voiceless fricatives
wereretained downto thepresentonlyin (partor allof) Pokomo.The
northern MKfurtherweakened bothfricativesto /h/,thesouthernMK,including Di,weakened
'rh to /h/ butvoiced. lo lll. Se reflectsDi here.Theresultis
f regularsetsof itemssuchas
PBandsw pa-,northern MKha-,southern MK{a- 'class16marker'; pB andsw {atu,but
MK -hahu'three'. In se andsouthern Dithislhlcandelete(soalso 'three').
-au

Contraryto whathappensin allotherSwdialects, *p and*t havebecomel^il andlrl


respectively
in ChandVur. Thusthereflexof thevoiceless labialstopis identical
(d4 in Di,
Ch,Vu,(andSe). Thereflexof theapicalis different: ChandVu/r/ butDi (andSe)/h/. lt
mightbe notedthatthe reflexof *p in Daisuis alsolV (Outof .t is/V).
Wecombed throughnearlyalltheavailable ChandVudata(Bakari 1985,Moehlig various,
Lambert 1954,1958,Nursefieldnotes)involving reflexesof *p and*t,andfoundthe
following
ralesof occurrence. Eachof thetwoselsof percentages belowis basedon between60
and90 eligibleitemsfromallthesources, depending onwhichdialector stopwasinvolvedS:

Chifundi Vumba

of *p:
Reflexes
t{1 79% 65%
lpl 16% 27%
fl, pl
mixed 5% 8/"

of *t:
Reflexes
l4 83o/o 71o/o
Irl 10% 26/"
mixed[r, t] 7% 3%

It shouldbe notedthatthedataon whichthesepercentages arebasedcamefroma rangeof


sources:someolder/some morerecent,someoral/some written,somefromnarratives/some
fromelicitation
of individualitems,somefrommen/women, older/youngerinformants,etc.
Thusthefiguresshouldbe takenas a general indicatorof frequency,notan exactmeasure of
occurrence.Although Chshowshigherlevelsof thelenitedfricatives thanVu,bothdialects
clearlyhavemanymorefricatives thanstops.Theitemscontaining thestopsandfricatives
respectively
arefrequently thesamein thetwodialects9.Thereasonfor theappearance of
apparentlynon-lenited segments is notthattheyfailedto undergo lenition
diachronically,
but
rather,underpressure fromMombasa SwandStSw,thatthetwosmallcommunities areslowly
nowreplacing theirfricativesbythestopsfoundin therestof Sw,wordby word.
Theobvious, question
butdifficult, hereis:whydidChandVu undergo lenition
at all ?
Fivepossible scenarios presentthemselves:

i. Ch andVuarenotSwdialects andneverwere.Inotherwords,whentheinitialearlysplit
occurred betweenSw (alsoElwanaandMwani:theconservative members) andMK (alsoPokomo
andComorian:the leniting,innovaling,members), ChandVuwentalongwiththeleniting group.
Theobjection to thisscenariois that,apartfromthisfeatureandthefewothersmentioned in
3.3and3.5,basically everyothercharacteristic of ChandVu is Swahili-like. So Ch andVu
wouldhavehadto undergomassive borrowing at everylinguisticlevel,whichis possiblebut
implausible. lt is alsonotsupported by non-linguistic
factors,suchasoraltradition: MKD|
traditionsdo notclaimthattheChandVuwereonceMK,nordo thecoreChor Vutraditions.
ii. ChandVudeveloped together with,or wereheavily influencedby,Comorian beforethe
Comorians leftthemainland coastin thesecondhalfof thefirstmillenium AD,a possibility
advanced by Nurse(1982b, 1984/5). Thecentral basisforthisclaimis thatfrom*p and*t,
Comorian developed /^ll andlrl,iustas ChandVu. A secondary supportcomesfromComorian
traditionswhichclaimthattheycamefrom"Mrima": "Mrima" in Swrefersto thenorthern
Tanzanian coastandmightbe heldto include theChandVuareas- but"Mrima" in Comorian
refersto theEastAfrican coastingeneral.Theobjection to thisscenariois that,whileit is true
thereis considerable
3
evidencethatComorianandSw in general(soincluding Ch andVu),have
hadlongcontactoverthe lastmilleniumanddo sharecertainlinguistic innovations,
thereis no
evidence, otherthantheiridentical of *p and*t,of specificsharedsimilarities
treatment or
innovationsbetweenComorian andCh/Vu.

iii. ChandVudeveloped together with,or wereheavilyinfluenced by,UpperPokomoat


someunspecified earlypoint,whichis similarto a hypothesis advanced by Moehlig(1984/5).
Theonlybasisforthisclaimis thatwhereUpperPokomohasthe (earlier) voiceles!pairlf ,'
rh/,Ch andVu havetheexact(later)voiced@ngeners d, r/ whichcouldeasilyhavedeveloped
fromthe UpperPokomosituation by a simplevoicingrule. Themainobjection to thissuggestion
is thesameasthatto thepreceding: thereis noevidence of otherspecific linguistic similarities
anykindbetweenUpperPokomoandCh/Vu.A secondary objection is non-linguistic: nooral
tradition published or knownto us evensuggests it.
iv. Despitethedifference in theCh/VuandDitreatment of *t, it couldbe arguedthatthe
wholesetof similarities (sections 3.3and3.5)betweenthempointsto lengthyandintense
contact,witheitherthiscontactor a language shiftfromDi intoCh/Vubeingresponsible for
today'ssituation: we discussborrowing vs shiftin section4. Thishypothesis is heavily
supported by theknownhistorical factsassetout in section2.
TheDi arrivedwith/V andlrhl. /V presents noproblems of interpretation, as it is
common b Di,Vu,andCh. Thedifference between theCh/VuandDi reflexes of *t canbe
reasonably explained: both/h/ andlrlderive viaa singlestepby @mmonphonological
processes (lenitionandvoicing,respectively) from/rh/,a segmentwhichin EastAfricaat least
appears to be unstable andis highlymarked in general (Maddieson 1985).Thatis,at thetime
Di andCh/Vufirstoamein contact,Di stillhadlrh/,theearlierstage.Thisleavesopenthe
question of whytficyshouldhavedeveloped differently (section 4).
Whilethisis thebestof thefourscenarios sofar,a fifthshouldalsobe considered.
v. Inthefirsttwoparagraphs of thissection 3.5,it willbe notedthatcertainsimilarities
(marked(.) in thetext)betweenMKandCh/VuarenotDi specific: theonephonological
feature,labiovelarization, is reportedly moreactivein themorenortherly MKthanin Di,anda
number of lexicalitemsareattested in morenortherly MK,notin Ditoday.Furthermore, theDi
reUex l"'ilof earlier.p is alsoattestedin DurumaandRabai,spokento the northof Di,whereas
thefar northern MKhave/h/. Duruma/Rabai andCh/Vuarenottodayadjacent.So the
possibility existsthatthepresence of thesefeatures in Ch/Vumightderivefroman earlier
periodof contact whensomeof today'smorenorlherly MKcommunities livedfurthersouth,
adjacent lo Di. Spear(197S) suggests thatonthewayto theirpresent location, someof the
morenortherly MKcommunities followed a circuitous routewhichinvolved formerly being
somedistancesouthof Mombasa beforemovingfurthernorth.
It is hardtojudgethishypothesis. Whiletheevidence forit is clearenough, it couldeasily
be explained away.Labiovelarization mighthavebeenmoreactiveearlierin Di,butbe
lessening undertheongoing influence of Sw. Di mightearlierhavehadthelexicalitems,onlyto
havereplaced themmorerecently.And/V as thereflexof 'p mighthaverecently spreadnorth
fromDi,a largecommunity, intoDuruma andRabai,smaller communities: Rabai,forinstance,
hasbothlh/ andd/ as reflexes of *p in different lexicalitems.Weseenootherlinguistic
evidence of similaritybetween Di andmorenortherly MK.
Ofthefirstfourhypotheses, wefindthefourthmostconvincing as anoverallexplanation of
thesimilarities between DiandCh/Vu,andwe admitthefifthas a minoradditional possibility.

3.6 Summaryof the linguisticpicture


lf we lookat thepreceding
fromthepointof viewof recipients,
we see:

(Ianzanian)Segeiu.Se is todaya formof southernDi. lt hasconsiderable lexicaland


limited
verb-morphological
materialfromSw:almostnoevidence materialfrom
of specific Ch
or Vu,mostSwmaterial beingfromUnguja and/orStSw.lt is possible thatSe is unstable,
since
ourinformantshowed variation
in hisrendering,
althoughthismightbedueto otherfaclors.
Limitedlexicalandphonological
evidencefor Daisumaterial
in Se.
q
Digo. lt hasconsiderable
lexicaland
limited
verb-morphological
materialfrom
Sw:limited
evidence
of specificmaterialfrom
Chor Vu,mostSwmaterialbeing
fromUngujaand/orStSw.

Southern
Di showslimited Daisu,possibly
lracesof materialfrom mediated
throughSe.

Chifundi.Considerable phonological evidenceforconvergence withDi:reflexesof *p and


.t (?),palatalization,lexicalized possiblyaffrication
casesof labiovelarization, andlimited
lossof /M. Alsosome(howmuch?) Di lexis,andat leastoneverlc-morpheme. Theongoing
repfacement of d, rl by lp,y pointsto influencefrommorestandard formsof Sw. Thedata
fromLambert forthedifferences between theWasiniandFunzidialectssuggests thatbothhave
absorbed Di material, butapparently differentially.
Although theevidence of Di influenceis
bettertodayfor Wasini(morepalatalization andlabiovelarization) for
than Funzi (limited
loss
of lwl, andaffrication - whichis hardto substantiate),thismaybe the resultof the lossof
thesefeatures in Funzi,so is non-diagnostic.

Vumba.Phonological evidenceforconvergence withDi:reflexes of *p and't (?),and


lexicalized
casesof labiovelarization.
Alsosome(howmuch?) Di lexis,andat leastone
verb-morpheme. Theongoing replacementof d, rlby lp,Upointsto influence frommore
standardformsof Sw,moreso thanin Ch.

lf we lookat thepreceding
fromthepointof viewof donors,we see:

Daisu.Onlymentioned brieflyaboveis thefactthattheearlierDaisucommunity (refened


to as "theSegeju")hada considerable lexical,
andsomephonological, impacton theMKin
general, in theperiodduringandafterthesixteenthcentury,astheymoveddownthecoastfrom
thenorlh,passing alongtheMKspectrum, andapparently amongtheMK(Nurse1982).
settling
Apartfrom,andlaterthan,that,thereis limited
lexicalandphonological evidence of Daisu
material in Se,andin Di,possibly
mediated through Se.
Daisuceasedbeingspoken onthecoastbetween thelastdecades of thelast,andthemiddleof
thepresent,century.

Segeju.Ambiguous evidence, asjustmentioned,


forsomeSe material
in Di:it mighthave
passedintoDifromSe,or directly
fromDaisu.

Digo. Strongevidence of Diphonological


andlexicalmaterial
in Ch andVu,andlimited verb
morphological
material.Moreobvious in ChthanVu. PossiblethatotherMKdialects mighthave
contributed
earlier.ls it possible passed
thatDimaterial firstintooneor otherof Ch andVu,
andthenintotheother?

Chifundi.Noevidence thatChhascontributed
material
lo anyof theothercommunities,
otherthanminimal
lexicaltracesin Di,whichhowever
mighthavecomefromChor Vu.

Vumba.As Ch,whichis surprising, giventhattheVumbacommunity is represented as


beingthepolitical, economic, cultural,
andreligiouscenterof theareaduringtheseventeenth
andeighteenth andpossibly
centuries, intothenineteenth.
lf it wereaskedwhyVu,Ch,Diandadjacent MKcommunities havel.'ilas thereflexof *p,
whereas thenorthernMKcommunities have/h/,it mightbeanswered thatthischoice(i.e.
voicing'f , ralherthanlenitingit)wasmadeunderVu influence.Thatit hardto prove.Forone
thing,it couldequallywellbeclaimed thatDaisud/ from.p playeda role(theDaisuwerea
considerable presence earlier);for
another,
alltheotherevidence suggests thatconvergence
wentintoVu andCh,notfromthem;andfora third,it is VuandChwhichdo notfit withtherest
of theSw spectrum, whileDidoesfitwiththerestof theMKspectrum in general.
Unguja,Standardand Mombasa Swahili.ThatUnguja in thenineteenth century,and
StSwin thiscentury, hashada largeeffecton allthesecommunities is undeniable. Apartfrom
themassof loanwords,theeveryday speechperformance of mostof themembers of thetarget
l0
communities
suggests
constantinterference
fromStSwat all levels.

We havenotdiscussed in detailtheroleof Mombasa Swon thetargetcommunities. lt can


howeverbe shownthatin thepastMombasa Swstrongly affectedall fourtongues,lexically,
phonologically,
andmorphologically. Mombasa wasthe largesturbancenteron thecoastfrom
to thepresentcentury.
thesixteenth

4.0 Summaryandconclusions
Thisconference is explicitlyaboutcasesof language death.Thereareclearlycasesof death
andnear-death on thesouthern Kenyaandnorthern Tanzanian coast.CoastalDaisu(notDaisuat
Bwiti)lingeredneardeathfromthelate19thcenturyandfinallydisappeared on thecoastat
somepointtowardthe middleof the20thcentury, withtheunannounced deathof its lastspeaker.
Tanzanian Se doesnotappearto be in a healthystatetoday:if KenyanSe everexisted,it
presumably alsodiedrelatively recently. VuandCharesmall,insignificant,anddwindling
communities, theireconomic andpolitical rolediminishedby external
eventssincethe19th
century,theirdialectsrendered irrelevantin thepresentcenturyby thespreadof StSw.What
Di startedin Vu andCh,thepressures of the20thcenturywillpresumably accomplish. We are
howevernotreallyinterested in therelativemoribundness of Se andDaisu,but ratherin some
of theprocesses involved in thesicklycondition of VuandCh. ChandVu present a unique
laboralory,as theyseemto havebeendealta massive blowby Di,andyetto havesurvived.

4.1 Models
Ourfirstaim(section 1)wasto investigate theappearance of certainnon-inherited
innovations, particularly lril andlrl,in ChandVu (section 3.0).Oursecondwasto explore
modelsthatmightexplain theseinnovations (thissection).ln whatfollowswe leanheavily on
Thomason andKaufman1988,whopresenta numberof concreteproposals abouttypesof
language change,andaboutthelinguistic traceseachmightbe expected to leave.
Theysuggest fourbasicmodels of language change.Thefirstis thegeneticmodel,whereby
changeis largely inlernal, language is handed onfromgeneration to generation,andresultsin
thekindof relationship thatcanbe recovered by theComparative Method.Wetakefor granted
thatlargepartsof Di,Ch,andVucanbeexplained bythismodel,andwe arenotparticularly
interested in itsapplication here.Theotherthreetypesallinvolve contact-induced change:
pidginization/creolization;borrowing; andsubstratum influence,of which language shiftis a
centralpart. Fortworeasons, we thinkpidginization andcreolization playedno significanl role
in thesituation we areinvestigating. First,thereis noevidence forthekindof sociolinguistic
situationthattypically givesriseto pidginization/creotization. Thatis,oursituation involves
nophysical displacement of populations, noremovallo some place far removed fromhomeand
ownlanguage area,andnomixingof populations withno@mmonlanguage. Second, lhekindof
linguistic
changes thatnormally resultfrompidginization areabsent: we seenoevidence of
irregulartransmission, simplification, features thatcannotbe explained fromthelanguages
involved, replacement of synthetic by analytic features,roleof universals, or possible
application of bio-settings.
Thatleavesbonowing andsubstratum influence. WefollowThomason andKaufman in
thinkingthatwhilealmostanylinguistic feature canbetheoretically betranferred fromone
language to another,it is onlypossible to predictwhatwillbe in practicetransferred by
examining factorssuchas thesociolinguistic settingandthedegreeof typological similarity
betweenthelanguages involved.Westartwiththesociolinguistic setting,andinserttypological
similaritywhereit seemsrelevanl.Wefocusmainly on Vu,Ch,andDi,lesson Se as it doesnot
appearto haveplayeda cenlralrole,andlesson ChthanVu,for although Ch hasbeenmore
affecledthanVu bycontact,we havemorefactsabouttheVumbacommunity.
Afterthearrival of theSearoundAD 1600,thefourcommunities havehadsomefour
centuries to interact:it is possible thattheDiin factarrived somewhat earlier.TheVu andCh
todayarerestricted to a narrowstretchof thecoastsome25 mileslong. Evenallowingfor
claimsthattheyearlierlivedat pointssomewhat northandsouthof today'srange,theirareawas
nevermuchlonger.Bycontrast, theDioccupymuchof theareabetween Mombasa andTanga,ca
100miles,andextending somedistance inland.As farascanbejudged,theyarelikelyto have
occupied
muchof thisareafroman earlypoint.TheDi population
todayis over
r{

100,000, andevenallowing fornaturalgrowth, it mustalwayshavebeensignificantly larger


thanthatof Ch andVu. As far as wecantell,theCh/Vupopulation wasnevermuchlargerthanit
is today.Apartfromallelse,thatmeansthatalthough thenumber of VuandChspeakers is
dwindling today,thecommunities themselves havenotshrunkdemographically - butthenumber
of Vu andCh speakers whocanlegitimately claimVu andChancestryhasprobablyshrunk,while
thoseof Di andSeancestry hasprobably risen.Balancing outthenumericat andgeographical
superiorityof theDi,theVucommunity enjoyedmoresocio-politico-economic superiorityand
prestige,certainlyduringthe17thand18thcenturies, andprobably afterthat.TheCh
community probably occupieda somewhat intermediate position:
as a Swahilicommunity, they
enjoyedsomeof thekindsof superiority of Vu,butfromthearrivalof Di andSe theyhadbeen
overrunby theVu,andthusplayeda subordinate role.
WhilemoredistantDiandSe/Daisu communities wouldhavefeltonlytheindirect effectof
Vu activity,directVu influence
on thatpart of the Di (andSe)community immediately adjacent
to Vuwouldhavebeenconsiderable. Inthe17thand18thcenturies theVu usedDi andSe
mercenaries, andemployed DiandSe in theirvarious tradeenterprisesthatstretched northand
southalongthecoast,andintotheinterior.Inthe19thcentury, Di andSewereusedby theVu
as "slaves",thatis,theyworkedon Vu-owned plantations(plantations
werea largely19th
centuryinstitution).Inthe20thcentury, someVu haveDiwives.
Allthishastwosignificant results
forthelinguistic picture.

(i) Borrowing. Certainly in the17thand18thcenturies, decreasingly so morerecently, a


superstrate - substrate relationship existed between VuandthegeneralDicommunity.
Economic andpolitical influence radiated outfromthecoast,anduntiltheDibecamelslamized
themselves, so presumably didreligious andspiritual superiority.Thereis no suggeslion that
Vu (orCh)speakers evershifted to Di (orSe).
Thiswouldseemto bea classicsituation forborrowing. A borrowing situationinvolves an
almostimplicational hierarchy whereby thefirstlinguisticcomponent to be borrowed is lexis.
Thishasbeenaxiomatic in linguistics fora longtime,andis endorsed by Thomason andKaufman
(p.37). Wefindalmostno material in Di (orSe)unambiguously attributableto Vu (cf3.2,
3.6). Di (andSe)havea massof lexis,andlimited morphological material, fromUngujaand/or
StSw,whichreflectsthesociolinguistic realityof thelasttwocenturies.ls it possiblethat
earlierlexicalloansfromVu (orCh)weresystematically replaced by laterUnguja/StSw ones?
ln theotherdirection, theVuandChcommunities havebeencompletely surrounded by Di
communities on thelandforat leastfourcenturies. As statedearlier, thisfactorplaysa minor
rolein theVu (andCh ?) account of thatperiod.Thereis littlepublished evidence foranyDi (or
Se)viewof theperiod.Thisis alsoa classic situation
forborrowing: smallcommunities
surrounded by large,pluslengthy, intense, anddaily,contact.
Whenlexisis borrowed, wefirstexpectto findnon-core/cultural, contentitems,followed
laterby core/basic content wordsandfunction words.Wehaveexamined allthepublished lexis
available for Vu andCh,andforChwe alsohadaccessto ca 500moreitemscollected by Walshat
Mkwiro.Thismaterial included muchbasiclexisand,somewhat haphazardly, culturaland
function material. Wefindsurprisingly littlelexisfromDi (orSe),eithercultural, core,or
function.Theitemswedidfindarevirtually thesamein VuandCh. In3.S,we setouttheitems
wethinkborrowed fromDi in a 1OO-word listforVu andCh- a handful.Examination of the
widerbasic@rpusreveals thesamepicture- a handfulof items,not@ncentrated in specific
i{. semantic areas,andthisextends to cultural andfunction lexis10.(. can MWhelphere?l)
Why,whenthesituation wouldsuggest thatwewouldexpectmorelexicalmaterial?We
admitto notbeingsure,buttwopossibilities offerthemselves. Oneis that,formuchof the
periodof Vu-Dicontact,Vuwasthesuperstrate community in economic, political,
or prestige
terms.This,plusthehighleveloflanguage consciousness amongcoastal Swcommunities in
general, maybeinhibited largescalelexical borrowing (cfThomason andKaufman: 117). The
otherliesin theeconomic andcultural natureof theVu,Ch,andDicommunities. At the
beginning of theirco-habitation at least,whiletheVuandChhadan extramaritime andtrade
t2
component nolsharedby theDi,lhethreecommunities weresimilarin thattheyallrelied
heavilyon agriculture.So Vu andChwouldnothaveto borrowin thisarea. Andalthoughthe
localeof theirearlierhomeis disputed,
it is likelythattheDi livedin anenvironmentnot
greatlydifferent fromtheirnewlocation adjacent to theVu andCh,so wouldnothavebrought
withthema setof termsforlocalfloraandfaunaunfamiliar lo theVu andCh. Sincein anycase
Vu,Ch,andDiareallquitecloselyrelated languages, thesetermswouldnotdiffermuchbetween
thethreelanguages (eventhoughthephonetic shapewasdifferent).
In a borrowing situation, depending on thedegreeandtypeof contact,lexicalmaterialcan
be followedby phonetic, phonological, andsyntacticl l material,followedpossiblyby featuresof
inflectionalmorphology. Thomason andKaufman (pp.74-951propose an approximate fivelevel
borrowing scale,rangingfrom'casualcontact'(Category 1)to 'verystrongculturalpressure'
(Category 5), addingthesethesecategories arenotwatertight andmaybe modifedby factors
suchas typological similarity.
BothVu andCh havecasesof lexicalized labiovelarization,whichmightbe explained simply
as lexicalborrowings (since,as faras wecansee,allthecasesalsoexistin Di),or, more
plausibly, as lexicalized tracesof thephonological ruleactivein Di,andpresumably formerly
aclivein ChandVu.
Chhasadditionalfeatures notfoundin Vu. lt palatalizes velars,a phonological (allophonic)
rule.lt hassomecasesof w-loss,a diachronic phonological rulein Di:thesemightbe explained
as individual lexicalborrowings or astheincomplete application of a phonological rule. Finally,
Chshowssignsof affrication, a Ml(Difeature, although, as we pointed outin 3.3,it is notclear
howto interpret this.
InThomason andKaufman's hierarchy,phonetic-allophonic-phonological borrowings such
as thepreceding tendto occurat level3('moreintense @ntact'), 4 ('strongcultural pressure')
or 5 ('verystrongcultural pressure'). Vuis loweronthishierarchy, Ch higher,whichfits
wellwithwhatwe knowof therelative rolesof VuandGhsincetheearly17thcentury.
Theborrowing of inflectionalmorphology, eitherindividual morphemes or thecategories
theyexpress, occursonlyat levels4 or 5, because inflectional
syslems arehighlystructured
andformrelatively closedsetsrz.ln Vu/Chwefindthe'notyet'morpheme, eithera borrowing
or a calquefromDi. Thisis mostlikelya borrowed morpheme fillingan existingcategory,
ratherthana borrowed category.lt seemsto be a grammaticalized compound (i.e.analytic
ratherthansynthetic): thisis truefor MKDI,maybenotat thetimeof transferto Vu/Ch?

(ii)(Partial)
language shift.Vu (andCh)actedas a magnet fornearbyDi (andSe)
communities. As otherSwcommunities alongthecoast,theyconstantly absorbed individualsand
maybesmallgroups fromDi,andultimately assimilated thementirely linguistically.Whileit
is notclearif manyDiwerebilingual in theearliest stagesof therelationship between Vu and
Di,it musthavebeenthecasethatat leastthoseindividuals whowereassimilated laterwere
bilingual,andthatthiswasanongoing situation. Therewerealsoprobably Di middlemen who
werebilingual. lt shouldbe remembered herethatat leasttodayit is thenon-Swahili whotend
to bebilingual,whereas theSwaremonolingual, oftenspeaking twodialects of Sw,butrarely
another language. Givenwhatis knownaboutthecommunity's feelingof superiorityaboutitself,
thissituationcanprobably be projected backward.OntheShimoniPensinsula/there are
villages whichareVu-speaking, butin whichsections of thepopulation claimtcibe notjustDi in
origin,butalsoSe andCh. Thiswouldsuggest linguisticasgimilationof Se andChalso. Economic
dgp.etdents switched to thelanguage of theireconomic masters.At leastin somevillages(e.g.
-Kyuv0, theVudo notappearto be physically
{ lr i* t ^ ' represented in today'spopulation, andarenoteven
superior numerically in thearea:thatis,language shiftwaspossible at a shortremovefromthe
targetlanguage community.
It shouldbekeptin mindthatVuonlyactedas a magnet on adjacent partsof the Di (andSe)
communities. SincetheDicommunity in generalwas muchmorenumerous, andoccupied a
largerarea,muchof it wasnotin contactwithVu on a regularbasis.
Thomason andKaufman (pp.38-39) definesubstratum interference astheresultof
"imperfect grouplearning duringa process of language shifi...in
thiskindof interference a
groupof speakers shiftingto a targetlanguage failsto learnit correctly.Theerrorsmadeby
members of theshiftinggroupin speakingthetargetlanguage thenspreadto thetargetlanguage
t3
as a wholewhentheyareimitated by originalspeakersof thatlanguage...interference
through
imperfect
learningdoesnotbeginwithvocabulary: it beginsinsteadwithsoundsandsyntaxi1,
andsometimes includes morphologyas wellbeforewordsfromtheshiftinggroup'soriginal

language appearin thetargetlanguage". Assuming thisis true,thenit followsthatthekindsof


interferencejustoutlined coulddueto shiftor to borrowing: phonetic-allophonic-phonological,
withlimitedlexicalandmorphological material.
Butwhatof |",ilandlrl ?
Language shiftsapparently leadto variableandunpredictable results,butlargelybecause
thehistoricalsociolinguistic picture is usually
lacking, as it is inourcase.Thatis,although we
havea reasonable pictureof thekindof relationship thatobtained for mostof thefourcenturies
of interactionbetweenVu/VhandDi,we havenodetailfortheearliestperiodof contact.Weonly
reallyknowthattheVu mustinitially havehadconsiderable prestige, andsomekindof social,
economic, political,or culturalpower(itcannothavebeenmilitary) overtheDi (andSe)in
orderto persuade themto acton theirbehalfagainst theCh.
Further,for muchof thelastfourcenturies, oncethe Di hadsettleddownadjacentto Vu and
Ch,theadjacent Digroupsmustalwayshavehadthetargetlanguage available to them,so some
bilingualism andfullaccessto Vu/Chexisted.lndeedtoday,aswesuggested in 3.2,manyDi have
internalized a codewhichallowsthemto switchbackandforthbetween DiandSw. Butit seems
unlikelythatthiswasthecasein thebeginning. TheDiarrived in a situationwhereby Vu andCh
wereclearlythemasters, andsomepartsof theDicommunity wanted, or had,to assimilate. Di
wouldnothavebeenfullbilingual in Vu/Ch,anda language shiftin thesecircumstances is likely
to leadlo someinterference in theformof thetargetlanguage/dialect acquired by the Di. This
situationis notlikelylo havelastedfor morethana generation or so.
Wethinkthekeyto thetransfer of d/ and/r/ liesin thissituation. Ourinterpretation of
whathappened is as follows.
WhereVu andCh hadlpl and/U,the Diarrivedwith/{/ andlrhl,respectivelyl3, in
inherited,cognale, words.At thetimeDihadlabial/b, {, v, f, ph/. Themostobvious phonetic
repfacements for/p/ wouldbe/ph/,/bl, l^ll,or /t/. l.il waschosenbecauseit wasclearto
Dispeakers thatit waswhattheyusedin manywordswhereVu/Chhadlpl,wordswhichwere
othenrvise(phonetically, semantically) similar
or identical. Also/V wasstatistically themost
trequentof thefivein Di.
. similarly with/rh/. whileit is notclearwhichDisegment (?ltg, lgcl,ld/,lrhl,
/t'r/)mighthavebeenmostsimilar phoneticallyto VuandCh/Vat thetimeit musthavebeen
obviousto Di speakers that/rh/waswhattheyhadin hundreds of wordscorresponding to Vu/Ch
tu.
So a Divariety of Vu/Chemerged, havingthetwolenited consonants in placeof /p,U. Over
theyears,reinforced byconstant contact withDiitself,andby constant assimilationandshiftof
Di speakers andgroupsintotheVu/Chcommunities, thisvarietygradually oustedthe"standard"
Vu/Chpronunciation.
Overthelongeryearssomething elsealsohappened. As VuandChgradually recovered from
theinitialimpetus of theDi influxandasserted itstieswithrestof thelargerSw community on
thecoast,it startedto replacelrh/and/V. first to disappear was/rh/. In universalterms,
thisis a markedsegmentt4.In EastAfricaingeneral it is uncommon, andin therestof Sw it is
non-exislent. lt mergedwithlrl, whichhadappeared in Sw(including VuandCh)in the
meantime largelyin Arabicloanwords. (lnthelargerDicommunity, moredistantfromthe
Vu/Charea,lrh/weakened to /h/). Then,muchmorerecently, d/ lmoremarkedthan/p/ ,
fessmarkedthan/rh/)hasstartedto be re-placed wordbywordbylpl, a processnowvisibly
underway (see3.5fordetails).
Insummary, whilemostof theDifeatures in VuandChcouldbetheresultof borrowing or
shift,thepresence of d/ and/r/ ('/rh/)almostcertainly pointsto a quickdiachronic shift
(Thomason andKaufman: 114:"iftwolanguages areknownto havebeenin contact..the presence
in oneof themof noninherited universally makedfeatures may...providegoodevidence of
interference fromtheother.")
rq

4.2 Theclassificatory positionof ChifundiandVumba


In anygeneticclassification of ChandVutheobviousirritantisd/ and/r/. Defining Sw as
a wholevis a vis MlVPokomo depends partlyon theretention
of *p and*t. All Swdialects,with
minorexceptions, have*p and.tl5. ButasTKpointout,thegenetic classification
of a language
involves beingableto provethatallitslinguistic subsystems areinherited. In lexical,
morphological, andmostphonologicalterms, ChandVuareratherclearlySwdialects, deriving
today'scharacteristics in a regularwayfromearlierstages11.Theanomalypresented by
lenitedd, r/ is a relativelysmallpartof thetotalpicture.
ln a typological,areal,andpresumably dialectrometrical,
classification,
Ch andVu would
showmajorsimilarities withtherestof Sw,andlessersimilarities withMK,especially Di.
4.3 Linguisticvs ethnicidentity
Thelinguistic identity of ChandVu is thusclearenough.Wehavenotbeenableto conduct a
comprehensive surveyof ethnicidentity throughout theVuandChcommunities, andtherefore
haveto relyon questions askedsomewhat haphazardly (. canMWdo something aboutthis?l).
*
Thedescriptions by Lambert (1957,1958)emphasize ethnicself-identification
by Vu and
Chas "Swahili" and/or"Shirazi" ancl/orvariousArabicnisbahs: butLambert seemsto have
talkedto members of thelocalelite.Walsh's enquiriesat theChcommunity of Mkwiroelicited
similarresponses, witha denialof anyinputfromDi/Se.Thelengthy analylisby McKayof the
Vucommunity alsoreflects this,emphasizing theirrolein theeventsof theSwahili@ast,and
deemphasizing theroleof DiandSe.
Possible answers to questions aboutethnicself-identity dependon whatquestions areput,
or howtheyareput. Otherenquiries by Walshin both(mainly) Vuvillagesresulted in
informants admitting quiteopenlytheiroriginsin theDi,Se,oi Chcommunities. lt seemsvery
likelythatmanyof thepeoplein theFunzivillages, surrounded as theyareby Dicommunities,
wouldsimilarly admitto simitarly mixedorigins.
Onesignof a historical languageshiftliesin a discrepancyon thepartof at leastsome
members of a contemporary community between whattheyspeakandwhattheyclaimto ,,be,,.
Thisraisescertainquestions.Forhowlongaftera shiftoccurswillthisdiscrepancy last?
WhenVumbaidentified themselves to Lambert as SwahilTshirazi/etc,weretfieysimply
unaware of theratherobvious phoneticsimilarity
between VuandDi,or waslanguage simplynot
anessential component of theirethnicidentityl6z
i5

ENDNIOTES
'1 Consider hereChwaka, peninsular,
spokenin severalvillages onor neartheShimoni which
appearsto be a formof Ml(iDiitselfcurrently in processof shiftingto Vu. SeeMoehligvarious.
'2 Weignoreherethethorny
issueof theterm"Shirazi". Thisis anethnicor historical, nota
linguistic,
labelusedby someSwahilicommunities. Inthecontext of localhistory, it generally
referslo a non-Vu, thatis,to theCh,andmanyChspeakers identifythemselves asShirazi, and
theirlanguage asChi-shirazi. ButmanyVualsorecognize thattheywere"shirazi" originally,
andthelermis alsoin useelsewhere on lhecoast,withdifferential reference.
-3 lt shouldbe keptin mind
thatnodetailed generalhistoryexistsforthispartof thecoast,and
thatVu is theonlycommunity of whicha reasonably comprehensive history(McKay197S)has
beenwritten.. DNto checkwithD. parkinforsperling's account of Digo/segeju.
*4 AllMKdialects, notjustDi,borrowed extensively fromDaisuin thepast(Nurse1gB2).
Thefewitemsreferred to inthetexthereareseparate fromthisgenerai loansetin MK.
*5 TheformsChifundi ([gcifu]n]dil)and(Chi)funzi mustbe related, butin anopaqueway.
Sincethe[nz]shapemustbetheoriginalform, buttheonlyNorthern Dialects in whichthis[nz]
hasshifted to [n]dl aretodayspokenin northern Kenya,manymilesaway,it is unclear why
thisformappears onthesoulhern Kenyacoast.
.6 InSwtherearestop
allophones in certainenvironments.
'7 Thisstatement is notstrictlyaccurate, asonedialectof Sw onZanzibar alsohasa voiced
labialfricativefrom.p (butrelains.t). we do notdiscuss this here.
'8 Weignorethereflexes 'mp
of and*nt,whicharedifferent.
.9 A question wedo notconsider inthispaperis whether Difeatures entered Vu andCh at rhe
sametimeor sequentially.
'10 Kinship lermsandfoodplants/types arelwoareasin whichwefoundsomeaccumulation of
loans- butourdatais notcomplete. Alsothewordfor'market'and (thefour) days of theweek.
*11 As wedo nothave
comprehensive dataforsyntax, it is ignored.
.12 Wehavesome
doubtsabouttheblanket validity of thisclaim,as muchof theverb
inflectionalsystemof Unguja/StSw seemsto resultfroma transferof featuresfromnorthern
Swwithoutanytracesof thephonological features thatoughtto precede it (Nurse19gg).
-13 lt mightbe askedwhy
otherpartsof thephonemic inventory werenotaffected.
Vu,ChandDiall had5 shortsurfacevowels,so theywouldnothaveofferedanyproblem.
Largepartsof theconsonant inventories of thethreelanguages, ascarriedin inherited
items,wereidentical, andcorresponded in cognates. Thisstatement deliberately excludes loan
words,whichmeanswordsfromArabicforsw, andwordsfromse for D|/MK.
Smallpartsof theconsonant inventories weredifferent. Thiswouldhavebeentruemost
obviously for/l/ ([] andzeroin sw, [],r] in Di,already discussed), andforMK,Did, rh,
ts,dzl= sw, Vu,ch /p,t, gc,gj/. However sw /gc,gj/wouldnothavebeentotallyaliento Di
speakers, as theydidhave[gc,gj]in inherited wordsfromothersources.
*14 Theultimate transJer to Vu andChof l^il and/rh/wouldalsohaveleadto moremarked
consonanl systems: /ph,f, b, v, il and/1,r, rh/.
.15 Theexceptions for*t areTikuu,Siu,andPate:fora discussion, seeNurse1985.For.p
theonlyexception is Makunduchi, on Zanzibari (cffootnote7):seeWhiteley1959,1960,
Lambert andchum1goz3,andNurseandHinnebusch forthcoming.
*16 Manycoastal Swahili willidentify themselves ethnically (i.e.forcensuspurposes) as
"Arab"whilespeaking littleor noArabic.
iI

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