Original Research

Characterisation and social impact of urban youth languages on urban toponymy: S’ncamtho toponomastics in Bulawayo

Sambulo Ndlovu
Literator | Vol 39, No 1 | a1373 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v39i1.1373 | © 2018 Sambulo Ndlovu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2016 | Published: 28 February 2018

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Sambulo Ndlovu, Department of Linguistics, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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This article focuses on the characterisation of S’ncamtho toponyms in Bulawayo and it goes on to measure the impact of these toponyms on the population of Bulawayo dwellers. S’ncamtho is an urban youth variety that is built on urbanity and streetwise style. The study assumes that, as S’ncamtho is the language of the youth in Bulawayo, people are exposed to S’ncamtho toponyms as the youth are found in all spheres of urban life in Bulawayo, especially the taxi industry which is used by the majority of people in the city. The research collected S’ncamtho verbal toponyms from Godini taxi rank in Bulawayo through undisclosed nonparticipant observations and some from the intuition of the researcher. Intuition and interviews were used to get the etymology of the toponyms and questionnaire tests of familiarity and usage were used to measure the impact of these toponyms on the population. Content analysis is used to characterise and classify S’ncamtho toponyms in Bulawayo and the metaphor comprehension test is used to measure their impact on the population. This article assumes that S’ncamtho has its own toponyms for locations in the city and that these are popular, especially with the youth, but people across age groups now use them.


sncamtho;toponym;tsotsitaal;linguistic landscaping;Bulawayo


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