Language choice and use by lower primary school children in a multilingual urban setting: Nairobi
Wangia, Joyce Imali
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This study is an attempt to investigate the varying degrees of use of three languages available to lower primary school children in Nairobi, a multilingual urban setting. These are, English, Kiswahili and the various mother tongues. ''Sheng'', a slang code, was also observed. This is in the light of the socio-economic status in which the children are being raised. The objectives were, to find out how children in Nairobi use their mother tongue, what role English and Kiswahili played as L1 among these children and what influences the language choice they make. It also looked at what possibility there was in identifying a predominant language for use in the first three years of school as is recommended by educational language policy. The study proceeds by giving a general introduction of the language picture in Nairobi and defining the use of special terms in chapter one. The rationale, objectives and hypotheses are also given in this chapter. Chapter two outlines the literature that was found to have relevant bearing on the study and gives the theoretical framework. The theory of Language Domains and Linguistic Repertoire was used. Chapter three deals with methodology. Elaborate details of the areas of research, sampling and methods used to collect the data are given in this chapter. The following chapter gives the data analysis. The figures for the findings are given in percentages which are then presented in bar graphs. Our findings and conclusions in chapter five reveal that mother tongues are the least used languages in Nairobi. Kiswahili is used widely though English is more prominent in the high income groups. There is languages maintenance efforts if we have to preserve all the languages.