What Lies Beneath the Neologism of Astashahada, Stashahada and Shahada in Standard Swahili?

Author: Ahmad Kipacha (Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania)
Speaker: Ahmad Kipacha
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


Is the creation of the new terms astashahada ‘certificate’, stashahada ‘diploma’ and shahada ‘degree’ in Standard Swahili a simple recycling process of meaningless linguistic “junk”? To what extent is the structure of these terms shaped by language-internal patterns and external cultural factors? This paper poses the question when, how, and why these terms astashahada ‘certificate’, stashahada ‘diploma’ and shahada ‘degree’ occur in the Swahili lexicon. Generally the paper aims to present these distinctive Swahili neologism to exhibit the way language can act as a marker of history and cultural changes.

Keywords: Neologism, standard Swahili, language-internal patterns.