Transformation or Socio-Cultural Identity: Style Shifting on Language Used in Tanzanian Film Industry (Bongo Movies)
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages: 8-14
Received: Jan. 8, 2018; Accepted: Jan. 25, 2018; Published: Feb. 26, 2018
Views 2088      Downloads 138
Rafiki Yohana Sebonde, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, The University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania
Article Tools
Follow on us
This paper seeks to demonstrate how there has been a manifestation of a style-shifting on the languages used in Tanzanian film industry (Bongo movies), from less to highly prestigious language; Kiswahili and English being the case. That, when people are highly negotiating for the use of Kiswahili in different domains, in Tanzanian film industry there is a style shifting from Kiswahili to English. This paper investigates whether code-switching and use of English titles and subtitles in the Bongo Movies is a product of language transformation or a way of constructing a new socio-cultural identity through relating to English usage, the language of authority and economic power, or is for attracting more audience or outside country market or whether it is the outcome of free economy, market and privatization or internationalization and globalization where English seems to be inevitable. The study was guided by Speech Accommodation Theory to clarify motivations for adjustment in speech patterns. Data for this study were collected through watching and reviewing 11 DVDs of Bongo movies produced after year 2000 to trace the status of language transformation, and interviewing 10 film stakeholders to examine the possible factors for style shifting on language used in Tanzania films. The data revealed that the use of English titles and subtitles, and code-switching from Kiswahili to English are the linguistic strategies for constructing socio-cultural identity, the manifestation of a multilingual Tanzania, film contextualization, free market economy particularly the need to attract and accommodate the international audience, co-production with outside companies, sponsors’ demands, and International Film Festival requirements.
Film Industry, Language Transformation, Socio-Cultural Identity, Bongo Movies
To cite this article
Rafiki Yohana Sebonde, Transformation or Socio-Cultural Identity: Style Shifting on Language Used in Tanzanian Film Industry (Bongo Movies), International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 6, No. 1, 2018, pp. 8-14. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20180601.12
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abdulaziz-Mkilifi, Mohamed, H. (1972). Triglossia and Swahili-English Bilingualism. Language in Society. 1:197-213.
Beebe, L. M. (1974). Socially Conditioned Variation in Bangkok Thai. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan.
Beebe, L M., and Giles, H. (1984). Speech-accommodation theories: A Discussion in terms of second- language acquisition. Int'l Journal Soc. Lang. 46:5-32.
Bourhis, R. Y. and Giles, H. (1977). The language of intergroup distinctiveness. In Language, Ethnicity and Intergroup Relations. H, Giles (ed) 119-135: London, Academic Press.
Bwenge Charles. (2009). Linguistic Identity (re) Construction in Electoral Politics: The Case of 2005 Tanzanian Parliamentary Campaigns. Selected proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference on African Linguistics.
Cappella, J. N. (1981). Mutual Influence in Expressive behaviour: Adult-adult and infant-adult dyadic interaction. Psychological Bulletin. 89:101-132.
Mbura, Issa. (2011). Tanzania Film Industry Development and Challenges in Tanzania after 50 Years of Independence. Dar es Salaam: DUP.
Mekacha, Rugatiri, D. K. (1993). The Sociolinguistic Impact of Kiswahili on Ethnic Community Language in Tanzania: A case study of Ekinata. Bayreuth: African Studies.
Mwakalinga Mona Ngusekela. (2010). The Political Economy of the Film Industry in Tanzania: From Socialism to an Open Market Economy 1961-2010. Ph.D. Thesis: University of Kansas.
Myers-Scotton, Carol. (1993). Social Motivations for Code-switching: Evidence from Africa. Oxford: Clarendon.
Myers-Scotton, Carol. (2006). Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Malden: Blackwell.
Philemon Edwin. (2013). Language Change in Tanzania Film Industry. MA Dissertation: The University of Dodoma.
Ramadhani, Z. (2013). The Impact of Text Messaging on the Acquisition of Standard English Writing in Tanzania: A Study of Higher Learning Institutions in Dodoma Municipality. M. A. Dissertation: The University of Dodoma.
Romaine, Suzanne. (1995). Bilingualism. (2nd ed.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Rubagumya, Casmir, M. (1989). English Medium Instruction in Tanzania Secondary Schools: A Conflict of Aspiration and Achievements. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 11:107-115.
Rubagumya, Casmir, M. (ed). (1990). Language in Education in Africa: A Tanzanian Perspective. Cleveland: Multilingual Matters.
Sebonde R. Y. (2012). Code-switching and Social Stratification in a Rural Chasu Community in Tanzania. Language Matters. 43 (1) 80-96.
Skiba, R. (1997). "Code-switching as a Countenance of Language Interference". The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. 3, No. 10, 1-6.
Yesse, Kanyuma. (2005). Social Motivations for Code-Switching among Members of Primary School Communities: A case study of Rabuor Ward, Tarime District. M. A. Dissertation: University of Dar es Salaam.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186