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.
Hi @MariaSTsehai, we’re so inspired by de many #Kiswahili speakers who tweet in their language. Now, more than ever, they can do so without worrying that de world will not “hear” them. @Twitter has finally heard us… de first native African language is now properly indexed here pic.twitter.com/QoriWyOeZD
— African Languages Day (@AfriLanguages) May 6, 2018
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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.
TWITTER RECOGNISES SWAHILI AS A LANGUAGE:
USA based social networking site Twitter recently added the capability to detect Swahili words in tweets & to translate them. Kiswahili which is widely used in East Africa, is Kenya’s National language & it unites the people of Kenya. pic.twitter.com/TMzgWU1IXu
— Ministry of Sports and Heritage (@moscakenya) May 7, 2018
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:
We made noise, a lot of noise;
Regarding #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili
We take this earliest opportunity to say thank you to @Twitter for listening.
Thank you for recognizing Swahili – #KiswahiliKitukuzwe @Swahilihub @Taifa_Leo pic.twitter.com/yY9FsVQYHV
— MakeItKenya (@BrandKenya) May 3, 2018
I thought Twitter recognises swahili now??
Still prompts the translate from Indonesian
— Mswahili Bandia (@MswahiliBandia) May 7, 2018
Swahili and Estonian – these languages share NO vocabulary @JMakamba @KilaKituMie @jack @Twitter – ways to go before native Swahili speakers appreciate twitter’s official recognition of Swahili. I’m seeing “translate from Estonian” now in place of “translate from Indonesian” pic.twitter.com/Po7H4zhyNq
— Edgar Nicas ???? (@EdgarNicas) May 7, 2018
Waaaaaait a minute, kumbe @Twitter launched Swahili as one of its languages, no wonder that annoying “translate from Indonesian” tag no longer appears in Swahili tweets
— Sewe Saldanha (@ClanSewe) May 6, 2018
Retweeted January Makamba (@JMakamba):
— Bin Hussein65 (@Shabanhussein2) May 7, 2018
— SmartCity Dar (@smartcitydar) May 7, 2018
It is high time now for Tz Institutions to open Swahili teaching Campuses in strategically selected countries to promote Swahili sustainable growth
— Richard J Masika (@masika_richard) May 7, 2018
We agree. While #Swahili has finally made the cut as the first native African language, literally days ago after pressure brought to bear on @Twitter, we believe more can be done. At the least, all the top 10 most spoken languages should be properly indexed.#AfricanLanguagesDay https://t.co/lZDotcH3F3
— African Languages Day (@AfriLanguages) May 3, 2018