Tanzanian English

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The OED’s coverage of World Englishes includes words and phrases from the variety of English spoken in Tanzania, a country in East Africa.

Tanzanian English words recently recorded in the OED

See the full list of Tanzanian English words most recently added to the OED here.

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Additional resources

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World Englishes

  • E.g. Philippine English, Hong Kong English, Ugandan English
  • e.g. bammy, skinship, bunny hug
  • e.g. an informal social gathering, a street vendor
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Tanzanian English editors and consultants

The OED works in partnership with external experts from or in East Africa to ensure that our entries for East African English words draw from local knowledge and expertise and reflect the everyday reality and distinctive identity of the East African English-speaking community.

Tanzanian English pronunciation

View the OED’s pronunciation model and key to pronunciation for East African English.

Tanzanian English resources: from the OED blog

Tanzania’s contemporary music scene is represented in this batch of new words by Bongo Flava (2003) and singeli (2015). Singeli is a Tanzanian style of fast-paced electronic dance music, combining elements of hip-hop with influences from East African popular music such as taarab (1969), a form of music originating in Zanzibar. Bongo Flava, another style of music from Tanzania, fuses elements of American hip-hop with influences from reggae, R&B, Afrobeat, dancehall, and traditional East African forms of popular music, and features lyrics in Swahili or English. Bongo (1993) is a nickname for the city of Dar es Salaam—bongo being the Swahili word for ‘brain’ or ‘intelligence’, something one needs a lot of in order to thrive in the most populous city in Tanzania.

Excerpt taken from OED blog post, ‘Release notes: East African English’


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