Udumishaji wa lugha ya kimaragoli katika eneobunge la uriri, Kenya
Sangili, Nabeta Nixon Kenyani
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Numerous research projects on language death and attrition due to failure of maintenance have been done in different languages in Kenya and across the globe. Currently, this problem is well documented by international bodies like the United Nations and the African Union as well as their member states. Some of the languages researched had initially migrated from their ancestral land. Maragoli language spoken in Uriri constituency is one of these languages that migrated from their ancestral land. Whereas some of these languages have been researched and well documented, little had been done on Maragoli in Uriri Constituency. It is worth noting that without empirical evidence on the present situation of Maragoli, we could not establish if it was being maintained or not. It is from this aforementioned problem that this research was conceived. This research aimed at investigating maintenance of Maragoli language in Uriri Constituency. In order to fulfil this aim, the following objectives were used: to establish the language maintenance strategies used by the Maragoli speakers in Uriri Constituency; to evaluate the language competencies and performance of Maragoli speakers; to discuss linguistic impact of Maragoli and Dholuo contact and to discuss the role of attitudes of Maragoli and Dholuo speakers in maintenance of Maragoli language. The research was guided by an eclectic theories of Language Contact theory as propounded by Weinreich (1953) and improved by Thomason and Kauffman (1988), Social Reproductive Theory espoused by Bourdieu (1977) and Ethnolinguistic Revitalization theory as propounded by Giles, Bourhis and Taylor (1977). The research adopted descriptive survey and comparative research designs. The target population was 20,000 Maragoli speakers spread in 5 Wards of Uriri Constituency. Yamane’s Formula (1967) was used to derive a representatuive sample of 390 respondents selected purposively. Data was collected using questionannaires, interviews and focus group discussion. Purposive sampling was also used to select 5 interviewees and 10 discussants. Quantitative data was analysed using frequency counts, percentages and means and presented using tables, graphs and pie charts. Qualitative data was transcribed, translated, organised into thematic areas and verbatim reports written. Findings revealed that Maragoli speakers have employed strategies of maintaining their language. The most preferred strategies included listening to Maragoli radio stations (75.8%), parents teaching children at home (73.2%) and speaking Maragoli at home (72.7%). However, variations in strategies were witnessed from one group to another. It was also discovered that the middle age and elderly group displayed highest competence level of Maragoli (93.4%), followed by children (93.3%) and youth (89%). It was discovered that competence among the youth and children is majorly affected by Dholuo interference in various domains. Dholuo interferes with Maragoli in domain use, lexicalization and individual Maragoli speaker’s speech patterns. Code mixing and code switching is experienced among the youth and children. This has led to intergenerational changes of Maragoli language in Uriri. Maragoli speakers have displayed positive attitude towards their language despite slight variations in age groups. The average positive attitude was reported at 83.4%. These findings indicate that Maragoli is being maintained due to effective strategies, good competence levels, negligible lexical interference by Dholuo and positive attitude by Maragoli and Dholuo speakers towards the language. These findings will be pertinent and insightful to speakers of endangered ethnic languages on how they can revive their languages, building of scholary work on contact linguistics in Kiswahili, language planning technocrats, Ministry of Education and International bodies like AU and UNESCO who are involved in Research and Documentation of Language Endangerment and Language Revitalization Strategies across the globe.
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