linguoboy wrote:I just learned that the Swahili word for "parliament" is bunge (and MP is mbunge). I'd love to know where that comes from.
It's of Bantu origin, apparently meaning "meeting place" or something similar.
The book Language Use and Social Change
(2017) says "A main concern of the Swahili promotion section was to lay down the procedure to be followed in adopting new words. The first step was to look deep into Swahili itself to see if there were old or obsolete terms that could be reviewed or given a new shade of meaning. Failing this, recourse was to be had to other Bantu languages. As a result of this policy a number of words from other Bantu languages are being added to Swahili. Notable of these words are bunge (parliament) — from Kisambaa and related languages, meaning "a meeting-place"
There is also this article from 1981
which says "...borrowing is a productive process, but with a clearly established hierarchy among the source languages. Firstly, Tanzania's Bantu languages are searched for a suitable item. Thus, 'bunge', Parliament, is from Ha.
And several articles in the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics
say it is a borrowing from Luganda.This site
suggests that bunge
comes from Proto-Bantu *bung
meaning "to assemble, gather together".
So I don't know whether the use of bunge
for "parliament" was borrowed from Kisambaa (Kishambala) or Ha (Giha) or Luganda or some other Bantu language (or several Bantu languages) or evolved from Proto-Bantu, but the consensus seems to be that bunge was a word that was deliberately chosen for its Bantu origin
. "Meeting place"
or "to gather together"
are the only explanations I found of the original meaning. (The m-prefix of mbunge simply turns the word parliament into the word for the person who works there.)