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Kuria-speaking people number about one million, with a homeland stretching from Kuria District in southwest Kenya through to North and South Mara in northern Tanzania. This is the first published dictionary of their language. It has been compiled especially with a view to its practical use, employing the standard Swahili orthography and avoiding complex grammatical notation. At the same time it is concerned to show the great richness of Kuria as a language which uses the full range of the common Bantu structural forms of verb and noun to express subtleties of meaning. It is intended partly as a record of the language and in this respect will be of use to comparative linguists. (A computerised version is available on disk.) It will be essential to anyone wishing to learn the Kuria language, including non-Kuria working in the area of Kenya and Tanzania where Kuria is spoken, but it should also be of interest to Kuria themselves, not least to Kuria school pupils looking for direct access to English through their own language.
Sammy M. Muniko was born in Buirege, Kuria District, in 1946, trained as a teacher, and after some years as an Education Officer became Headmaster of St. Joseph Ntimaru Secondary School, a position he still holds. He has written school reading texts and advised nationally on the use of languages in schools. Benedict Muita oMagige was a teacher who made an extensive collection of Kuria proverbs, and owed much of his interest in Kuria traditional culture to his father, Joseph Magige oTatwa, of Renchoka, a former prominent chief. Ben died shortly after this dictionary was completed. Malcolm J. Ruel is an Oxford trained social anthropologist who compiled the original wordlist from which this dictionary has developed. He has written widely on Kuria culture and a collection of his essays on Kuria religion and related topics is shortly to be published by E. J. Brill.