Kisambaa

Posted September 27, 2008 in Internet, Tanzania

My website, for whatever ludicrous reason, comes up as the #1 Google Search result for Kisambaa.

Since I am now considered the authoritative source on Kisambaa, I should explain a bit about it: it is the native language of the Sambaa people in Tanzania, who live east of Arusha and just across the border from Kenya. How are you? in the afternoon is onga mshi, and the correct response is tiwedi. I do not know the formalities for morning, nighttime, thanks, or farewells. In fact, I know practically nothing about Kisambaa.

I found a website called Ethnologue Report which says 664,000 Sambaa people exist. I would take that website's information with a grain of salt, however: its entry on Swahili suggests that Kiswahili only has 540,000 mother-tongue speakers, while in reality Zanzibar alone accounts for 1,000,000 Swahili people and I expect a significant subset of the younger population of Dar es Salaam (population 3,000,000) also speaks Kiswahili better than any other language.

Factoid: most native Kisambaa speakers know Kiswahili as a second language.

Factoid Number Two: Since I am writing English, I should really be writing Sambaa instead of Kisambaa (for the same reason I would write French instead of Fran├žais); but if I had done that to begin with my website never would have been the #1 search result.