LINGUIST List 25.2704

Wed Jun 25 2014

Books: State Ideology and Language in Tanzania: Blommaert

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <>

Date: 25-Jun-2014
From: Anna Glazier <>
Subject: State Ideology and Language in Tanzania: Blommaert
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Title: State Ideology and Language in Tanzania
Subtitle: Second and Revised Edition
Published: 2014
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Book URL:

Author: Jan Blommaert
Electronic: ISBN: 9780748675814 Pages: 184 Price: U.K. £ 65.00
Electronic: ISBN: 9780748675838 Pages: 184 Price: U.K. £ 19.99
Hardback: ISBN: 9780748675791 Pages: 184 Price: U.K. £ 65.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9780748675807 Pages: 184 Price: U.K. £ 19.99

Tanzania is often seen as an exceptional case of successful language planning in Africa, with Swahili being spread to all corners of the country. Yet, this objective success has always been accompanied by a culture of complaints proclaiming its utter failure.

State Ideology and Language in Tanzania sets out to explore this paradox through a richly documented historical, sociolinguistic and anthropological approach covering the story of Swahili from the early days of independence until today. Focusing on the ways in which Swahili was swept up in the ‘Ujamaa revolution’ – the transition to socialism led by president Nyerere – Jan Blommaert demonstrates how the language became an emblem not just of the Tanzanian ‘cultural’ nation, but above all of the ‘political’ nation. Using Swahili meant the acceptance of socialism, and the spread of Swahili across the country should equal the spread of Ujamaa socialism. When this did not happen, the verdict of failure was proclaimed on Swahili, which did not prevent the language from becoming one of the most widely used and dynamic languages on the continent.

This book is a thoroughly revised version of the 1999 edition, which was welcomed at the time as a classic. It now extends the period of coverage to 2012 and includes an entirely new chapter on current developments, making this updated edition an essential read for students and scholars in language, linguistics and African Studies.

Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation

Subject Language(s): Swahili (swh)
Language Family(ies): Afroasiatic
Areal Regions: African

Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

---------------------------------- Publishing Partner ----------------------------------
Cambridge University Press

----------------------------- Major Supporting Publishers -----------------------------
Akademie Verlag GmbH
Bloomsbury Linguistics (formerly Continuum Linguistics)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cascadilla Press
Classiques Garnier
De Gruyter Mouton
Edinburgh University Press
Elsevier Ltd
Equinox Publishing Ltd
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Georgetown University Press
John Benjamins
Lincom GmbH
MIT Press
Multilingual Matters
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Peter Lang AG
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
University of Toronto Press

--------------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ---------------------------
Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
International Pragmatics Assoc.
Linguistic Association of Finland
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Seoul National University
SIL International Publications
Universitat Jaume I
University of Nebraska Press
Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 25-Jun-2014