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English(es) in Post-Independence Namibia

An Investigation of Variety Status and Its Implications for English Language Teaching


Helene Steigertahl

This volume contributes to the fields of World Englishes, English Language Teaching and Second Language Acquisition, assessing the English(es) spoken in post-Independence Namibia beyond variety status. Based on questionnaires and corpus analysis, the author analyzes morphosyntactical structures, language use and attitudes towards English(es) in comparison to home languages. She gives new insights into the structure of spoken language and potential varieties of English in particular. Focus is put on a geographical area that only recently attracted increasing attention in the field of World Englishes. The author’s work can be regarded as an attempt to bridge several aspects of the frequently discussed «paradigm gap» between World Englishes and Second Language Acquisition studies.

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2 Research into World Englishes


Prior to assessing English(es) in Africa and then focusing on the linguistic situation in Namibia, the theoretical framework of WE needs to be set. In this chapter, the two most frequently used models, i.e. B. Kachru’s (1985) Three Concentric Circles and Schneider’s (2007) Dynamic Model are explained. Moreover, ESL and LE, with a focus on the so-called ‘paradigm gap’ between the fields of SLA and WE is dealt with, before assessing implications for ELT.

To begin with, the concepts of World Englishes, New Englishes and Post-colonial Englishes (PCE) are briefly explained so as to highlight their different foci. World Englishes is the most general term, usually including all different kinds of English(es) around the world, i.e. EFL, ESL, ENL, that is LE, L2 varieties and L1 varieties of English(es) (Edwards 2014: xif.). However, nowadays the term is also used less broadly, referring mainly to more stable varieties, i.e. L1 and L2 varieties, of English (cf. Jenkins 2006). New Englishes includes Outer Circle (B. Kachru 1985) varieties, that is ESL. PCE comprise Englishes that resulted from British colonialism, i.e. some English varieties from B. Kachru’s (1985) Inner and Outer Circle (Schneider 2003, 2007; see also Edwards 2014: xif.). Before the field of WE was formed in the 1980s, Strang (1970: 17 f.) differentiated between A-, B-, and C-speakers of English varieties. A-speakers comprise people that speak English as their mother tongue, e.g. from the US, UK, Australia and South Africa, similar to the notion...

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