Microsoft is giving people some LIP again

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/03/05 17:15 -05:00, original URI:

Yes, that is right, the Swahili Language Interface Pack is now available! :-)

Some info about Swahili:

Swahili or Kiswahili? - Swahili is often also referred to as Kiswahili. Swahili literally means "coast people" (and then "coastal language"), the word is derived from Arabic. Kiswahili is the name in the language itself, Ki- being a prefix for nouns of the class to which languages belong.

Swahili is widely spoken in Eastern Africa and parts of Central Africa. It is national language in Tanzania and Kenya and extensively used in Uganda and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is understood in areas in Rwanda, Burundi, the Comoros Islands, the southern part of Somalia, the northern parts of Mozambique and Zambia, and even the northwestern coast of Madagascar. While it is native tongue for only 4-5 million people, 50 million people know Swahili as second language and use it as a lingua franca, making it the most widely understood language in Africa after Arabic.

Spoken originally by people along the Eastern African coast, Swahili became the major language for coastal trade. Since a lot of traders were Arabs the language began to be heavily influenced by Arabic from the 7th century on, later there were also influences from Persian, Portuguese and finally English (from which, for example, baisikeli or penseli come). The European explorers and then the colonial administrators spread and encouraged the use of Swahili.

There are lots of different dialects of Swahili in the vast area where the language is spoken. Standard Swahili developed from the urban dialect of Zanzibar city, Kiunguja.

So you can add it to that big list that includes so many others (such as Nepali, Konkani, Bengali and Malayalam, and all of the others....

Undeniably cool! :-)


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# swautier on 6 Mar 2006 3:16 AM:

My wife grew up in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. She has notions of Swahili (she calls it Kiswahili BTW). I'm curious as to her reaction when I'll install that LIP on her computer ;-)

referenced by

2008/03/14 Swahili^H^H^H^Hllowing our lumps?

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