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This extension may account for disabilities as well: kilema "a cripple", kipofu "a blind person", kiziwi "a deaf person".
Finally, diminutives often denote contempt, and contempt is sometimes expressed against things that are dangerous.
Although originally written with the Arabic script, Swahili is now written in a Latin alphabet introduced by Christian missionaries and colonial administrators.
The text shown here is the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer.
Christian missionaries were the ones that spread the Latin alphabet to the Swahili people.
They used it to communicate with the natives, spreading it further.
This is often called the 'tree' class, because mti, miti "tree(s)" is the prototypical example.
However, it seems to cover vital entities neither human nor typical animals: trees and other plants, such as mwitu 'forest' and mtama 'millet' (and from there, things made from plants, like mkeka 'mat'); supernatural and natural forces, such as mwezi 'moon', mlima 'mountain', mto 'river'; active things, such as moto 'fire', including active body parts (moyo 'heart', mkono 'hand, arm'); and human groups, which are vital but not themselves human, such as mji 'village', and, by analogy, mzinga 'beehive/cannon'.
An extension common to diminutives in many languages is approximation and resemblance (having a 'little bit' of some characteristic, like -y or -ish in English).
Examples of the former are kisu "knife", kiti "chair" (from mti "tree, wood"), chombo "vessel" (a contraction of ki-ombo).
Examples of the latter are kitoto "infant", from mtoto "child"; kitawi "frond", from tawi "branch"; and chumba (ki-umba) "room", from nyumba "house".
Since its speech was more educated, the Zanzibar dialect was chosen as standard Swahili for those areas, Swahili has become a second language spoken by tens of millions in three African Great Lakes countries (Tanzania, Kenya, and the DRC) where it is an official or national language.
It is the only African language in the African Union.