Swahili is first native African language to get Twitter recognition after protests

Ismail Akwei May 7, 2018 at 01:39pm

May 07, 2018 at 01:39 pm | Culture

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

May 07, 2018 at 01:39 pm | Culture

After many years of being referred to as Indonesian, social networking site Twitter has finally recognized Swahili as a language and offers a translation of the popular East and Southern African language.

Since last week, Twitter began detecting the language in tweets and offers a close to perfect translation. The news has excited many speakers including the Kenyan government whose country recognises the lingua as a national language.

The recognition came after years of protest by Swahili speakers using hashtags #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili to drive the message through.

However, the transition has not been fully completed and some Swahili speakers on Twitter are yet to appreciate the recognition.

Swahili is spoken by over 50 million people and it serves as the national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and DR Congo.

A fraction of the Bantu language has its vocabulary derived from Arabic as a result of contact with Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants.

Below are some mixed reactions to the Twitter recognition of Swahili:

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