The Kenyan indigenous languages and the mass media: Challenges and opportunities

  • James Orao Department of Linguistics and Languages, University of Nairobi


While it is officially recognized that Kenya is a multilingual state, necessary mechanisms for theeffective management of this diversity have not been effected. With English and Kiswahili occupyingthe "official language" positions, the other more than forty local languages are excluded and have no"official" recognition. The relatively recent development of vernacular mass media has not onlyprovided an impetus for the re-examination of the status of indigenous languages in Kenya, it has alsobrought with it opportunities and challenges which are yet to be critically examined. Many questionsare being raised regarding the status of the vernacular mass media, their possible influence on the locallanguages, the possible challenges they raise within the national language policy, and their role in thepublic domain. This paper addresses these questions and examines the relationship between thevernacular mass media and the Kenyan indigenous languages.Keywords: indigenous languages, language management, vernacular mass media
How to Cite
Orao, J. (2012). The Kenyan indigenous languages and the mass media: Challenges and opportunities. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 38.
II. Multilingualism in public discourse | Mehrsprachigkeit im öffentlichen Sprachgebrauch