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English(es) in Post-Independence Namibia

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

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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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5 Data Collection and Methodology

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The study at hand combines qualitative and quantitative methods and was carried out empirically by direct methods (cf. Fasold 1984: 149; Schmied 1991: 201; Gallois et al. 2009: 600 ff.). Data in form of questionnaires, semi-structured sociolinguistic interviews, reading passages and word lists were collected during two research trips to Namibia, viz. between September and November 2013 as a pilot study and in February and March 2015 as the main data collection (cf. Steigertahl 2019: 101). Questionnaires were used to receive information about language use and attitudes in Namibia, with focus on English(es) in contrast to home languages. Interviews were employed to elicit natural speech and to receive data for the analysis of potential morphosyntactic forms of the English(es) spoken by Black Namibians after 1990. Additionally, by the combination of these two methods with participant observation, it was possible to take account of and discuss potential discrepancies between statements made in the questionnaires and interviews and actual language use (cf. Schmied 1991: 30, 201), which is necessary to receive an undistorted outcome of the study.1 The combination of the three approaches – triangulation – has proven to be very fruitful (cf. Schröder 2003: 31; Schröder 2004: 151; Harris 2011: 32) as it expands the “explanatory power” (Meyerhoff et al. 2012: 122) of research results.

During fieldwork, participants were contacted through the friend-of-a-friend approach, also called snowball sample (Milroy 1980: 53; Milroy 1987: 66; Meyerhoff et al. 2012: 128; Steigertahl 2019: 102). This approach was...

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