Apr 13, 2014 BULLETIN

BULLETIN .... the National Launch of the Dictionary is on 13th April, 2014 at the Panafric Hotel, Nairobi starting 11am - a lasting legacy for the young people of Kenya.

Most of the community leadership is expected to attend; about 300 people.

We are pleased to have been involved in a small way with this historic project.

Copies of the Ekegusii dictionary are available from us, from the Project, and from the internet.

No University linguistics department should be without one.

ND & AMD, England, 12 Apr 2014

The dictionary can now be purchased online or from Amazon, or by emailing us. Any of you with relatives / contacts / friends in Kenya, or who work in University language /liguistics departments - please spread the word!!


Summarised from kassfm.ke

Experts have warned that the use of Kenya's indigenous languages is decreasing. Led by Kenya's Education Cabinet Secretary Professor Jacob Kaimenyi, they said in Nairobi that there is need to document this vernacular language. "Globalization has led to the increasing uptake of foreign languages at the expense of indigenous languages," Kaimenyi said on Monday during the launch of the Ekegusii dictionary and encyclopaedia.

Ekegusii is the language of an ethnic Kisii community based in Western Kenya. The book has documented over 13,000 words over the past decade of research. Kenya is currently proposing the implementation of a policy requiring the use of vernacular languages in the first two years of primary school.

Gladys Kwamboka, the co-author of the Ekegusii dictionary, said that some vernacular languages in Kenya face extinction as they have no intergenerational transmission. She said that indigenous languages should be spoken at home so that they remain alive and vibrant, but pointed out that . some parents don't have the time or willingness to pass the language to their children. For vernacular language to remain relevant it must grow with technology. "This will ensure that there are words to describe new emerging products," she said.

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion said that the country's constitution encourages the appreciation of local cultures, but that for languages to be strong, scholars need to strengthen them. "We are also supporting the policy that will require learners to be taught in their mother tongue for the first few years of school," the secretary general said. "Why should we glorify other languages, when we have our own?"

Kennedy Bosire, who is also the co-author of the Ekegusii dictionary, said that intercultural marriages tend to reduce to the use of the indigenous cultures. "This increases the need for documenting the cultures for future reference," he said.There is also a notion that local languages have no value especially in the labor market." As a result, many those under the age of 45 have difficulty speaking in vernacular language while most of those younger than 20 years can't speak it.

Former Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri said that African traditional cultures entrenched societal norms, saying that they contained guidelines on the role of men, women and children in society. Ongeri noted that for indigenous languages to survive in the modern times they need to evolve over time. Professor Ratemo Micheki, who is the founding Vice Chancellor of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, said that no community can go far unless it maintains its culture and that culture helps to mediate language. "Unfortunately, Kenyans has a poor reading culture," he said.

Kenya Literature Bureau Managing Director Eva Obara said that languages help to identify and define cultures. She said that the use of vernacular language in the early stages of life helps to sharpen language skills. and that the Kenyan Diaspora craves for local languages and culture. She noted that many Asian countries achieved economic development despite their use of native languages. Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o from the University of California's Department of English said that all Kenyan languages are an integral part of the country's rich culture.

For the full report from which this summary has been written, please see kassfm.ke

    At last........the dictionary is out!

    Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published

    The first 2000 copies are finished....

    My own copy has arrived, and I've taken a few shots to give a flavour of what it contains.

    It's an astonishing piece of work, meticulously researched and compiled.

    Here's a picture of the volume; it runs to 1400 pages. There are 1000 pages of Ekegusii - English dictionary and a 400-page lexicon at the back which goes in the opposite direction.

    So.......click on the thumbnails...

    Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published...

    The main contents:

    Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published...

    Sample pages from the dictionary and lexicon:

    Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published... Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published...

    The acknowledgements, where 'Diversity' gets a mention, and part of our addition to the foreword:

    Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published... Authoritative Ekegusii Dictionary now published

    Kennedy Bosire and Gladys Machogu have been working tirelessly on this project for many years. It is the culmination of an enormous effort, without which the language was almost certainly set to disappear within a couple of generations.

    'Diversity' has been associated with the project in a small way since 2006.

    This dictionary, along with its online companion, is the best way of ensuring that the young people of the Abagusii have access to authoritative work on their language and heritage, and that the language itself goes from strength to strength.

    There is a Facebook page for those who wish to be more interactive. I'll be putting details online shortly.

    Nigel Deacon, England, July 2013

    Mr.K.M.Bosire, Ekegusii Encyclopedia Project Director


    Masoge. (Hi).

    Ekegusii Encyclopedia Project (EEP) is a Community Based Organization whose primary objective is to document and to revitalize the community’s endangered language, Ekegusii. We also collaborate with other organizations documenting equally endangered indigenous. A language is endangered when it experiences a steady decline in its use and lacks demonstrated policy/trend enabling its speakers from effectively transmitting it and preserving it for the majority of the language’s community members especially the youth. Such is the current scenario with Ekegusii. With much endeavor, over a period of twelve years, EEP has generated the first ever Ekegusii-English dictionary complete with English-Ekegusii index, Illustrations, Examples, Expounded proverbs and Common phrases, Riddles, Brief history & Lives and Times of Omogusii. A product suitable for use by speakers and learners of Ekegusii.

    Our further works are found in the project’s website: www.ekegusiiencyclopedia.com .
    EEP is also registered with the Kenya Library Services as Author and Publisher.


    return to Ekegusii home page