Tanzania - Tanzanie (TZ)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

No language defined as official in constitution, but English and Swahili are de facto official languages.

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Apparently no legal status for languages [verify].

Ethnologue lists 127 living languages at http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=TZ

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Swahili, Hehe, Gogo, Nyakusa, Luo/Acholi/Lango, Maasai, Sukuma/Nyamwezi, Yao and Makonde

1.2  Policy / Politique

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Tanzania at http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/afrique/tanzanie.htm

b) Agencies / Agences :

Five institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in Tanzania (UNESCO 1985). Updated information is needed:

  • Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili/ Institute of Swahili Research (TUKI), University of Dar es Salaam
  • Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa/ National Swahili Council (BAKITA), DAR ES-SALAAM
  • Department of Kiswahili, University of Dar es-Salaam, P.O. Box 35040, DAR ES-SALAAM
  • The Eastern African Centre for Research on Oral Traditions and African National Languages (EACROTANAL), ZANZIBAR [currently closed]
  • The Institute of Education, University of Dar es-Salaam, P.O. Box 35094, DAR ES-SALAAM

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 69.4%. Swahili literacy was higher during the 1970s as a result of rural literacy campaigns and Universal Primary Education (UPE). However, UPE was abolished in the 1990s in response to IMF structural adjustment mandates, and literacy rates began to drop. Tanzania reimplemented free primary education in about 2003, and school enrollment rates increased immediately and dramatically, but it is too early to document the effect on literacy rates. English is mandatory for secondary and tertiary education, available to less then 10% of students who complete primary school.

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

The Latin alphabet is used.

Before colonisation, Swahili was written in the Arabic script. Many old manuscripts exist in the Arabic/ Ajemi script, but few people are able to read those texts. Written Swahili dates back about 400 years.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

Swahili is a thriving language in books and newspapers.

Most daily newspapers in Tanzania are published in Swahili, with wide distribution in urban areas. Major Swahili newspapers include:

  • Nipashe
  • Majira
  • Mwananchi
  • Taifa Leo
  • Rai
  • Mtanzania
  • Tanzania Daima

Several publishing houses print books in Swahili, both school textbooks and popular titles. These include:

  • Tanzania Publishing House (TPH)
  • Mkuki na Nyota
  • Mture (primarily textbooks)

c) Websites and blogs / Les site web et les blog :

Swahili has a substantial internet presence.

Major websites written in Swahili, many containing vibrant discussion forums, include:

  • JamboForums.com
  • HabariTanzania.com
  • Mahusiano.com
  • Darhotwire.com

Many blogs are written in Swahili, including:

  • Jikomboe.com
  • IssaMichuzi.blogspot.com
  • harakati.blogspot.com
  • kitoto.wordpress.com
  • Jumuwata (Jumuiya ya Wanablogu wa Tanzania), blogutanzania.blogspot.com, the union of Tanzanian bloggers
  • Many others on the Tanzania blog list maintained at Global Voices Online

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines: Telephone mainlines: 4 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Mobile subscriptions: 891,000 (2.5 per 100 people) (ITU 2004 cited in Vodafone 2005)

"Only 6% of households in Tanzania have access to phones, of which almost 90% are in Dar es Salaam. About three-quarters of household phones are fixed lines, while the rest are mobile phones dedicated for household usage. ...
"The study found that mobile most effectively services the country, with 10% of all Tanzanians owning mobile phones. Most mobile phone owners, however, are found in urban areas, with 17% of the population in Dar es Salaam owning mobile phones, 10% in other urban areas and only 4% of the rural population, despite the vast majority of Tanzanians living in rural areas. It is noteworthy that almost all mobile phone owners use pre-paid accounts (99%).
"Payphone usage is surprisingly low, considering the poor access to both fixed and mobile phones. However, there are very few payphones outside the major urban areas, and where they do exist, they seldom work." (Towards an African e-Index)

Access to mobile telephones is increasing rapidly. Many rural areas are reached by cellular signals, leading to many telephone micro-enterprises. Therefore, individuals in much of the country can make or receive phone calls when necessary, even without owning their own handsets.

SMS text messaging is extremely common, as it is cheaper and often more reliable than voice telephone calls. An evolving Swahili SMS argot is widely used.

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

Several radio stations broadcast in Swahili, mostly from Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Mwanza. BBC broadcasts their Swahili service on the FM band in Dar es Salaam. Radio stations jnclude:

  • Redio Tanzania
  • Radio One
  • Radio Free Africa
  • Clouds FM
  • Redio Tumaini
  • Sauti ya Tanzania Zanzibar
  • Redio Sauti ya Injili

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI :
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 3.3 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 333,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 0.9% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"Access to the Internet and computers is extremely limited. Only 2% of people in Tanzania have email addresses, and most of those live in Dar es Salaam. More than three-quarters of those who have an email address use free public accounts.
"Only 2% of all households in Tanzania have a computer – all in urban areas. Even then, a mere 15% of the few households with working computers are connected to Internet, and they almost exclusively live in Dar es Salaam. In general, there is negligible Internet penetration in Tanzania." (Towards an African e-Index)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.12 (ITU 2006)

2.3  Policy / Politique

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Tanzania" has some information and links: http://rights.apc.org/africa/test.shtml?apc=s21848e_1

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

IICD has a page on Tanzania at http://www.iicd.org/countries/tanzania/ . It has four project sectors: Good Governance, Education, Livelihood Opportunities, and the Environment.

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

Software in Swahili includes:

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

KiLinux focuses on localizing FOSS in Swahili. http://www.kilinux.udsm.ac.tz

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Tanzania," Africa ICT Policy Monitor, http://rights.apc.org/africa/test.shtml?apc=s21848e_1

Balancing Act Africa. 2005. African Internet Country Profiles, Part 2, East Africa. London: Balancing Act. http://www.balancingact-africa.com/profile2.html

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU. http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/publications/worldinformationsociety/2006/wisr-web.pdf

______. 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006. http://internetworldstats.com/africa.htm

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Tanzanie," http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/afrique/tanzanie.htm

Maho, Jouni Filip, and Bonny Sands. 2002. "Web-appendix to The languages of Tanzania: a bibliography. (publ. in the series Orientalia et africana gothoburgensia, v 17, 2002)." http://www.african.gu.se/tanzania/weblinks.html

Ngalinda, Innocent, and Beda Mutagahywa. 2005. "Tanzania." In Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, http://www.researchictafrica.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=504 )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Tanzania," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=TZ

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/3.html ]

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005. http://www.vodafone.com/assets/files/en/GPP%20SIM%20paper.pdf

Wikipedia, "Tanzania," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanzania

______, "Tanzania," http://sw.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanzania

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