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‘Enchengeria’ dictionary to preserve Ekegusii language

The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of Kisii University, Professor John Akama, and three other authors have launched a dictionary dubbed ‘Enchengeria’ in a bid to revive the indigenous Ekegusii language.

The dictionary is written in three languages, namely Ekegusii, Kiswahili, and English, and caters to the needs of all readers in terms of punctuation and spelling.

Speaking during the launch, Prof. Akama said they had engaged respondents, including former teachers of Ekegusii and other knowledge experts of the Gusii culture, in the production of the book.

“The main reason we wrote this book is that researchers, particularly those dealing with languages in UNESCO, are saying that the Ekegusii language will soon become extinct due to the decline in the number of users,” he noted.

The Vice-Chancellor added that most people from the Gusii community had moved to major towns and cities and no longer spoke the language among themselves.

Similarly, Akama pointed out that those living abroad discouraged their children from speaking their mother tongue and instead embraced the English language.

However, he expressed optimism about the newly launched dictionary, saying that it clearly outlined how the Ekegusii words should be pronounced and would help in the preservation of the language.

The ‘Enchengeria’ dictionary is co-authored by four people, namely, Prof. John Akama, Dr. Evans Mecha, Dr. Peter Otieno, and Dr. Peter Getenga.

The book is expected to be uploaded online for everyone to download free of charge as well as contribute further by adding words that might be missing from the dictionary.

By Julius Ongwae

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