Arabic Grammatical Loans in Contemporary Swahili Prose Texts

Sergio Baldi, Maddalena Toscano


The presence of Arabic loans in Swahili has not become subject of reliable corpus-based analyses so far. The influence of Arabic language on Swahili can be investigated in literary sources, but reference to whether writers are Muslims or not is essential for their differentiation. This article intends to investigate the presence of Arabic in contemporary prose texts written by Tanzanian authors from Zanzibar and from mainland. The electronic corpus has two sets, Tanzanian corpus and Zanzibarian corpus respectively which are almost equal in size. The reference list of Arabic loans has been extracted from two published sources. Using Concordance, a concordance software for text analysis, the frequency of words representing grammatical classes is tested. Differences in the two corpora have been indicated, as well as some shared occurrences of items of Arabic origin (mostly adverbs and conjunctions).

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