Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 00:10:18 -0500
From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings
Laurence Horn wrote:
Not sure, but it might be worth remembering that this traditional holiday
was initated by Ron Karenga of UCLA during the late 1960's (I was there at
the time); I believe he later adopted a different first name (Maulana?).
Actually, his choice of the -aa spelling would be appropriate, now that I
think of it, since the holiday is presumably named not for the verb
_kwanza_ 'to begin', but for its nominal derivative _kwanzaa_ 'first fruits
of the harvest'. But if I recall my Swahili, the universal penultimate
stress of the language extends to double vowels, so that it "should" then
be pronounced kwanZAa and it never is. The -aa final is not un-African in
any case; certainly it's not particularly rare in Swahili, although it may
occur more frequently in Arabic loans.
That's interesting. So is RHD simply wrong to spell it Kwanza ? A
quick search on the web turns up Kwanzaa almost exclusively. Even
when I searched for Kwanza , I came up with numerous hits, but when I
went to the sites, the spelling still had -aa (so frankly I'm not sure
why I got hits for -a).