Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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Youth ‘languages’ are an important topic of research in the domain of linguistic change through language contact because the change is rapid and observable and also because the social dimension of change is inevitably present. Engsh, as a youth language in Kenya expresses not only modernity and Kenyan identity but also, the status of being educated, and it differs in this respect from Sheng, the dominant Kenyan youth language. The element of Engsh that expresses this aspect most directly is the use of a grammatical system from English whereas Sheng uses Swahili. In lexicon, Engsh draws upon Sheng and urban English slang. This is a first extensive description of Engsh. The social function of Engsh is interesting in that class is expressed in it, which is not often reported in African urban youth codes. Also the fact that Engsh is a non-exclusive register, which expands through its use in (social) media and most of all in computer mediated communication.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): anti-language; Engsh; Kenya; Sheng; social class; style; urban language; youth culture
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