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).