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    Friday, April 11, 2014

    The Masai: Their Language and Folklore

    Masai occupy a considerable part of the large plains which extend from about one degree north of the equator to six degrees south of it, situate in both British and German East A frica. Those living in British territory commonly call themselves I l-M aasae lt whilst the German Masai are to a large extent known as L-O ikop 2or H-L umbwa 3. In olden days the coast people termed them without discrimination Wa-M as i or Wa-K wayi4, names which have been perpetuated by Krapf and others. Sir H. Johnston states5, and probably correctly, that theM asai represent an early mixture between theN ilotic negro and the Hamite (G ala-S omali); and that this blend of peoples must have been isolated somewhere in the high mountains or plateaux which lie between theN ile and the Karamojo country. Certain it is that theL atuka, who are supposed to be descendants of the ancestral Masai, and who occupy this country, speak a language that is closely allied to theM asai tongue, and have many customs in common with theM asai. The accounts which have been published of the habits and 1W hen spoken rapidly this word is sometimes pronounced I l-M asae (for further particulars see also p. 29, note 4). a L-O ikop is believed to signify the possessors of the land. It also means murder (see p. 27, note 3, and p. 311). 1N otto be confounded with the so-called Lumbwa (whose real name is Kip-sikisi), a tribe living near the Victoria Nyanza in British East A frica. These Lumbwa or Kip-sikisi are nearly related to theN andi, and are believed to have migrated from north of Mount Elgon (H obley, Eastern Uganda, p. 10). Lumbwa is a term of contempt, and signifies a pastoral people who have taken to agriculture. masaitheirlangua00holluoft

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