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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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8 Assessing Variety Status and Educational Policy in Post-Independence Namibia


Based on the analysis of Namibia’s educational policy, language use and attitudes and potential morphosyntactic features of the English1 spoken by Black Namibians after 1990 (cf. Chapter 6 and 7), it is now time to address the question of variety status and evaluate ELT in Namibia. Particularly the question which English to teach is adhered to. In what follows, the models of B. Kachru (1985) and Schneider (2007) are applied to the case of English spoken in post-Independence Namibia; implications for ELT in Namibia are also given. This unites the fields of WE and SLA as variety status and ELT are connected2.

8.1 English Spoken by Black Namibians in B. Kachru’s (1985) Model

Despite English being the sole official language of Namibia, it does not seem to fit into the Inner Circle. English is not the native language of most Namibians (Maho 2008: 3; CIA 2014; Government of Namibia 2015; Lewis et al. 2016), but generally used as an additional language, i.e. L2, L3, L4. Neither is it norm-providing, since the English taught in Namibia is oriented towards British English, as, for instance, evident in the Cambridge syllabus introduced in section (MoEC 1993: 15; Haidula 2014; MoE 2014: 3 f.). On the one hand, English is used in most public domains and its/their use is expanding (cf. section 6.2; see also Beck 1995; Pütz 1995a; Steigertahl 2010; Buschfeld & Kautzsch 2014; Stell 2014; Pauli 2017). On the other hand, English is not...

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