The communicative functions of yaani on Tanzania WhatsApp platforms


  • Sarah Marjie University of Ghana
  • Felix Kwame Sosoo University of Ghana


yaani, pragmatic markers, Tanzania, WhatsApp platforms


The word yaani is one of the conjunctions used in Kiswahili. Yaani by its common and dictionary meaning is used to give further explanations to thoughts or ideas and it means ‘that is’. In recent years, the word has obtained an interesting usage in the language both in the spoken and written communication thereby extending its meaning and usage from the dictionary meaning. This paper therefore seeks to widen the discussion on Kiswahili conjunctions with emphasis on yaani both in terms of providing a characterization of the word as well as placing its discourse usages in the appropriate social context. We try to explore the various discourse usages of yaani on Tanzania WhatsApp platforms. The data collection took into considerations one on one chats and communications on group pages among Tanzanians. From our analysis, we observed that yaani is used to express emotions, regret, surprise, emphasis and can be used as an interrogative word among others. In other contexts, it is observed that yaani is used in sentence initial and final positions as opposed to the usual usage as explained in the dictionary. We recommend in this paper that yaani be given a critical look at its current stage of development in the language. 


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How to Cite

Marjie, S., & Sosoo, F. K. . (2021). The communicative functions of yaani on Tanzania WhatsApp platforms. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 10(1), 305–328. Retrieved from