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Language is one of the most important aspects of life and without it, communication would have been impossible. With every generation, new vocabularies arose and a different language that they alone could understand. The youth always preferred a way to communicate among themselves that the elders wouldn’t get to ever know what they talked about. Maybe that is why, ‘lugha za mitaani’ never seized to grow. Just when the older generations caught up with the youth, they would purposely change into newly formed vocabularies. We had the ‘sheng’ that really threatened the official languages in school whereby students started applying it in their compositions and insha and even made it their commonly used language. Sheng really affected what could be called ‘pure English’ or ‘Kiswahili fasihi’.

Yet still, generations never seized to come up with new forms of language. Another one was the reversed way of talking whereby words are read backwards. Anita became ‘Atina’ and Amina became ‘Anima’ and much more of that. Apart from that, there are those who added the‘t’ and ‘r’ syllables in every word they said. ‘Wataka nini’ was said as ‘waratarakara niriniri?’ or ‘wewe njoo hapa’ became ‘werewere njoro harapara’. I remember how my classmates at high school would talk like that and so fast and it would practically take me some minutes before ever understanding what they were talking about. So when they laughed, I would be among the last ones to laugh when the joke was already stale; since I was slow in understanding their language.

With all that still, the most interesting way of talking was the direct translation one. It is very amazing how people quickly got to find shortcuts for themselves in language. I remember one time hearing a primary school student exclaiming ‘My mother parent!’ and it actually took me a minute before I understood that what she meant was the Kiswahili exclamation of ‘mamangu mzazi!’ When you ask them they say, we are supposed not to dare talk Kiswahili at school unless during Kiswahili lesson so they opted for direct translation. But what is even worse is that even the honorable people in the society have been caught doing the same. Without pointing fingers, one member of the parliament said ‘I am eyes’ to mean ‘niko macho’ when caught asleep in the parliament.

The youth actually find it fun to be talking in the direct translation form and well, I have to admit that it is quite interesting how fast they think. ‘Mum is scratching the coconut’ to mean ‘mama yuwakuna nazi’ Another example is how a boy was telling his teacher ‘my dad pulls the cigarette’ to mean ‘yuwavuta sigara’ but that’s not the end of it; they can actually write you an entire composition doing the same.

The most recent one and most widely spread is the internet language. Teachers have been made to cancel a lot of words in examination papers due to the effect of internet language. Words like ‘LOL’ for ‘laugh out loud’ ‘btw’ for ‘by the way’ tnx’ for ‘thanks’ among many others is what has made youths apparently ‘lazy’ in writing with correct spellings and proper language.

Well, it may be funny but the effect of it all is what is seen in the compositions and examination papers and students tend to fail miserably for such reasons. It is important that students know how to differentiate what is play time and when it is time to get serious with studies and



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A freelance writer, journalist, poet and blogger venturing mainly in social and community issues, study and analysis of behaviour and life, and the plight of the under-dogs in the society. 'I feed on human stories.'

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