melski wrote:I don't speak Swahili, but I have two Congolese roomates who use a fairly good amount of French when speaking in Swahili (they have almost no knowledge of English)
If that helps...
vijayjohn wrote:According to TY Swahili, there are some differences between Congolese Swahili and Kenyan/Tanzanian Swahili, but it's still recognizably Swahili, and if you're in the eastern Congo, it's better to know some Standard Swahili than none at all.
In any case, I personally find that learning Swahili has helped me feel pretty comfortable with other Eastern (and even Southern) Bantu languages in general.
In Congo, I'm pretty sure the dominant language is still very much French, so yes, I would think there would be quite a bit of French influence at least in the Swahili of educated (eastern) Congolese. In Rwanda, however (and perhaps also in Burundi), English is becoming more popular than French as a foreign language, so it seems that the usefulness of French there is pretty limited, but Swahili is still a useful language in Rwanda (and probably Burundi!) as well.
Trebor wrote:Does the book list some of the similarities and differences between those varieties of Swahili? Surely refugees are bound to have differing levels of education, so perhaps those Congolese, Rwandans, and Burundians less familiar with French and the Zanzibari standard actually speak a form of Swahili incomprehensible to a Westerner?
Cool. Which other Bantu languages have you looked at? In what areas has Swahili helped you? (The lady going to Malawi has also mentioned learning Kinyarwanda, which is supposed to be a fair bit tougher than Swahili.)
Rwanda made English an official language in 2008--
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... h-genocide
--though Burundi hasn't taken that step, at least so far. Based on what I've read/heard, French isn't as useful in Rwanda, but still is in Burundi.
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