One of the country’s influential linguists Professor Pascal Kishindo has said he is working on completing a grammar book on Malawian languages.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of Malawi Union of Academic and Non-fiction Authors’ (Muana) workshop recently, Kishindo said he embarked on the grammar book, which examines structures of Malawian languages, over three years ago.
He said: “This is a huge project I have been working on for many years. It is a grammar book about 400 to 500 pages on Malawian languages which will complete next year.”
Kishindo, who is who is also a lecturer in African Languages and Linguistics at Chancellor College, revealed that he was also working on a text book on ChiTonga language on top of his on-going big project.
He said: “After writing Chichewa and French text books on Chichewa, Tumbuka, Chiyao and Chisena, Tonga is another interesting language that I am exploring how much it differs from Chichewa or Tumbuka.”
Kishindo, who is also director for the Centre of Language Studies, is one of Malawi’s seasoned academic writers who has contributed to the country’s education system. For example, he has co-authored Junior Certificate textbooks such as Chichewa Book 1 and Book 2.
However, the announcement of his new project comes at a time Malawi is wrestling with the effects of shortage of local content written by local authors in the education sector.
Most of the books currently being used, particularly in college, are written by foreigners, making it hard for emerging local issues that are applicable to Malawi to be captured comprehensively.
But Kishindo, who is also one of the facilitators of Muana, said his body is advocating for more local content to ensure that learners study about their own state of affairs in college.
He said: “As Muana, we challenge local academic writers to research and explore local content so that their work should benefit college learners.”
Kishindo began active writing when he was a student at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. By then he was interested in literary criticism. n