Sociolinguistic Survey Among the Rangi People

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Statement of Responsibility:
Bergman, Ted G., Joseph Mbongué, Rachel Sowers, Tracy Tooley and Oliver Stegen
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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2007-004
32 pages

The Rangi survey data was obtained in August of 1995. This Tanzania Bantu language is known through most of the country by its Kiswahili name, Kirangi, though the people themselves call their language Kilangi—the ki- prefix meaning “language”. The purpose of this survey was to determine whether a writing system and literature should be developed in Kirangi. To accomplish this, the following research questions were addressed:

  1. The viability of Kirangi, in other words, if it is likely to be abandoned for Kiswahili in the future.
  2. Whether the Rangi people would likely use literature in Kirangi if it were available.
  3. Since Kirangi is most closely related to Kimbugwe, a related question is whether these two languages might be able to share the same literature.

Bilingualism is an important question for most language groups in Tanzania because of the strength of Kiswahili as the national language. The conclusion of the study was that the Rangi language is vital with no danger of shifting to Kiswahili in the near future. It is in a diglossic situation with many people knowing both Kirangi and Kiswahili. Kiswahili is used in school, population centers of mixed languages and with outsiders. Kirangi is used in all other domains.

Oliver Stegen subsequently lived among the Rangi people seven years from 1997. He has provided a current update on the status of the language development and an evaluation of the survey presented in this report.

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Language surveys
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