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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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6 English(es) in Comparison to Home Languages in Post-Independence Namibia – A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Functions, Attitudes and Education


This chapter deals with language use and attitudes of Black Namibians using English after independence and provides a closer look at languages in education, with a focus on local languages and the official language English. The results are drawn from the 263 questionnaires that were received during fieldwork in Namibia in early 2015. Additionally, statements made in the 77 sociolinguistic interviews, as well as participant observations, accompany the analysis to attempt to give a realistic view on the linguistic situation in the Namibian communities of Divundu, Ruacana, Gobabis and Usakos. Hence, each section of this chapter combines a quantitative with a qualitative approach.

The following tables and figures do not show the questions or statements in the same order as in the questionnaire (see Appendix 1), but are grouped together according to domains or categories. Besides, the overall results are displayed and the main differences discussed below, while tables and figures according to the variables of age and home languages are included in the appendix for reasons of space and a better overview (see Appendix O).1

6.1 Language Use

As already described in section 4.2.2, many languages are used by several ethnic groups in Namibia. Usually, one language is dominating in certain regions, ←163 | 164→which continues to refer back to the former apartheid policy of homelands and segregation (cf. section 4.1.3). Besides, several languages are often used on a daily basis, as common in multilingual countries such as Namibia. In...

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