The Maasai Language: An Introduction



The Maasai language (Maa) is an Eastern Nilotic language spoken in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania by the Maasai people. It is closely related to the other Maa varieties: Samburu (Sampur), the language of the Samburu people and Ilchamus, spoken South and Southeast of Lake Baringo. Correct pronunciation is given a high premium among the Maasai and is taught to young children with great attention to detail. The spoken language is not only the most significant point of contact that the Maasai use but the only way that they can continue to thrive in their traditional tribal way of life.

The loss of the Maasai language is happening fast especially among young “urbanites” as a result of close contact with other tribal groups in East Africa and the rise of Swahili and English as the dominant languages. The Maasai way of life is embedded in their language. The minority status that the language currently faces has already threatened traditional Maasai practices. This book attempts to espouse on and preserve critical aspects of the language of a people who despite education, civilization and western cultural influences, have remained true and loyal to their traditional way of life.

This book is meant for use by any reader with a basic command of the English language interested in the Maasai language as the translations are made from Maasai to English and vice-versa. It is written in an easy-to-read-and-understand manner that captures contemporary every day aspects of Maasai life.

Language and culture are an intangible asset to the Maasai. The book gives a clear documentation of the sustainability of the two. The content addresses future threats of the Maa Language that ought to be documented for future sustainability [Dr. Daniel Naikuni, Lecturer, School of Business and Economics, Maasai Mara University, Kenya].

I highly recommend this book to those interested in being introduced to the Maa language. The book is well researched, uses simple language and has legible print [Rose Naiperiae Kudate, Curriculum Support Officer,
Ministry of Education/Teachers Service Commision, Kenya].

A dynamic and prolific writer, David ole Munke is a Lecturer at Maasai Mara University in Narok County, Kenya. He has six other published e-books: Stories from Maasailand, Beautiful Burdens, The Test of Courage, Dangerous Encounter, Undefeatable Courage and Sunset in the Savannah. An avid writer on Maasai culture and traditions, he was born and bred in an average Maasai family and had an eventful childhood living a simple life deep in the Maasai hinterland. Ole Munke grew up attending school and in his spare time tending his father’s livestock in the Savannah living through many of the experiences he recounts in his books. He has over ten years experience working with a non-profit organization serving rural Maasai communities. Ole Munke now lives with his family in Narok County; home of the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Maasai Language: An Introduction”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *