JANGHBARI: The Life Cycle of a Language


Below is an abstract of a chapter that is to appear later this year in a publication arising out of:

Third international thematic CRG conference on
Africa and the Indian Ocean
“History and Politics of Belonging in African Indian Ocean Island Societies”
Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale), Germany, June 2018


The chapter opens with a discussion on contact between South Asia and the East African Coast and the Interior. It then focuses on the presence of the Kachchi people from Western India and their interaction with the Kiswahili people on the East African coast, their socio-economic situation in Zanzibar and the contradictions faced by the Kachchi people, known as Janghbari within their culture; to their sense of belonging and identity, their language use and language reproduction. The chapter then hypothesizes on the development of a Kachchi/Kiswahili sociolect and the birth of Janghbari, a Zanzibari pidgin/creole used by these people. It then looks at the origin, development and the growth of Janghbari, its dispersal in the Janghbari diaspora and its foreseeable demise. A linguistic analysis of speech samples collected in London and Coventry in the UK, and in Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, is presented in the chapter to indicate that the Janghbari sociolect is not a haphazard, arbitrary mixture of Kachchi and Kiswahili loan words, code mixing or code switching but a methodical development of a sociolect that shows a pattern of development of a creole language.

(Tracks of speech samples are available on the Internet at: https://soundcloud.com/safder/sets/janghbari-1or Google search : Soundcloud, Janghbari by Safder)

Contact Safder Alladina at < safder8@gmail.com> for a copy of the chapter.


Please reply to the following survey and return it to: Safder8@gmail.com

 Janghbari Survey, 2019

 This is a preliminary survey to locate speakers of Janghbari to see if people still know it and and use it today.

Your name will not be used in the survey. If you have any questions I would be very happy to answer.

 Name:(For my reference only. Will not be made public)

  1. Do you speak Janghbari?  *With whom?  * How often?
  2. Did both your parents speak Janghbari?
  3. Did your parents use the language at home between themselves? * With family members? * With friends?
  4. Do you remember other people speaking Janghbari?  Are they still alive? Do they still speak Janghbari?
  5. Are your parents alive? How old are they?                 Mother              Father
  6. If not alive, when did they die?                                      Mother               Father
  7. Have you been back to Zanzibar?
  8. Did you hear any people speaking Janghbari there
  9. Do you know of any speakers of Janghbari who have returned to Zanzibar?
  10. Do you know any young children who speak Janghbari?

Please return to: Safder8@gmail.com

Thank you,

Safder Alladina

S. Giga Patney (Safder Alladina, born in Tanga, Tanzania) has taught English as a Foreign Language in England, Japan and Portugal and English as a Second Language in England and Canada. In his 35 years of teaching, he has taught Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Adult classes; and developed and taught Teacher Education programmes at graduate and post-graduate levels at universities in the UK and Canada. His research work is in Sociolinguistics.

He has retired to a hobby farm in the interior of British Columbia where he now does creative writing.

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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