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Represent 255 : language, style and the construction of identity in Tanzanian English hip-hop

Title data

Adjirakor, Nikitta:
Represent 255 : language, style and the construction of identity in Tanzanian English hip-hop.
In: Linguistics Vanguard. Vol. 6 (5 December 2020) Issue S4 . - No. 20190042.
ISSN 2199-174X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2019-0042

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
Poetry as Aesthetic Practice. Form, Experience and Relation to Lifeworlds in Verbal Arts in Madagascar and TanzaniaNo information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

From its encouraged and sustained use during colonial times, through to the creation of the Tanzanian state, the Swahili language has been consistently constructed as one of the key facets of Tanzanian identity. After the emergence of hip-hop in Tanzania, the shift from English to Swahili was instrumental to its widespread adoption, with English gaining a symbolic meaning as a status marker as well as a language for international positioning. This article argues that recently, a rising number of hip-hop artists style themselves as purely English-speaking artists to construct a Tanzanian identity that challenges the dominant positioning of Swahili. To this end, I explore through selected texts how English is used to construct a cosmopolitan niche and urban identity that serves as a counternarrative to the dominance of Swahili in the popular imagination. Through hip-hop songs, groups and performance events, I show how English is used to evoke experiences of belonging that are positioned as authentic narratives that juxtapose rather than contradict a Tanzanian identity.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Hip-hop; Tanzania; Swahili; Identity; African youth languages
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor Literatures in African Languages > Professor Literatures in African Languages - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Clarissa Vierke
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor Literatures in African Languages
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 400 Language > 490 Other languages
800 Literature > 800 Literature, rhetoric, criticism
800 Literature > 890 Other literatures
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2021 08:23
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2021 08:23
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/66044