The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added a plethora of Kenyan words as part of the updates made in June 2022.
In the updates made by OED words such as Uhuru, Githeri, Chang’aa, Busaa, Nyama choma, Asante sana, Collabo, Come-we-stay, Jembe, Pressed, Sambaza, Sheng, Tarmac and Unprocedural were attributed to the Kenyan lingo.
The words were included as both adjectives and verbs in the dictionary that is widely used across the world and in parts of the globe where British English is used.
A meal of sumptuous Nyama Choma, a delicacy in Kenya. “There are numerous borrowings from languages of Africa, particularly East Africa, including newly revised words such as benga, boma, duka, harambee, hlonipha, and Uhuru,” OED Executive Editor, Eleanor Maier stated.
The OED coverage of East African English includes the varieties of English spoken in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, three countries which share a common Anglophone background despite their different colonial histories.
As of June 2022, the OED had added more than 700 new words, senses, and sub-entries including words like ankle-biter, sharenting, Mozart and Liszt.
The Oxford English Dictionary is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language.
Here are some words that made it to the list with their definitions provided by the OED:
1. Benga, n.: “A style of popular music originating in Kenya, influenced by traditional Kenyan music and characterized by fast-paced rhythms and the melodic.
2. Chips mayai, n.: “In Tanzanian and Kenyan cookery: a thick omelette having fried potatoes (chips) mixed in with the eggs during cooking, served open rather than folded.
3. Isukuti, n.: “In Kenya: a wooden drum, traditionally made from a hollowed log, which is usually hung over the shoulder and played by striking with the fingers and…” plus one more sense.
4. Mabati, n.: “Corrugated iron sheeting, used esp. as a building material for houses. Frequently as a modifier.
5. Uji, n.2: “In Kenyan and Tanzanian cookery: a light liquid food, typically eaten for breakfast, made by boiling (often fermented) millet flour or another…”
6. Kamba, n. and adj., sense A.1: “The Bantu language of the Kamba, a people inhabiting the Ukambani region of central Kenya.”
Kenyans at a street in Nairobi City’s downtown area.
File 7. Merry-go-round, n. and adj., sense A.3: “In Kenya: an informal cooperative savings scheme, typically run by and for women, in which each participant regularly contributes an amount, and the…”
8. Otherwise, n., adv., and adj., sense A.3: “Kenyan English. An option, choice, or alternative. Usually in to have no otherwise.”