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Acta Germanica

German Studies in Africa

Series:

Edited By Carlotta von Maltzan

Der erste Teil «Afrika schreiben», zugleich Schwerpunktsetzung des Jahrbuchs, versammelt Beiträge über Afrikaverarbeitungen in der deutschen Literatur und im kulturellen Gedächtnis, die bezeugen, dass der afrikanische Kontinent nicht erst seit seiner Kolonisierung zu Imaginationen im europäischen Raum geführt, sondern auch heute noch Relevanz hat. Der zweite Teil «Sprache und Übersetzung» setzt sich mit Zusammenhängen von Sprache und Übersetzung sowie Fragen der Zugehörigkeit und Identität auseinander. Der dritte Teil enthält eine Reihe von allgemeinen Beiträgen zu literarischen Verarbeitungen des Ersten Weltkriegs, zu Aspekten kultureller und jüdischer Identität, aber auch zu Identitätskonstruktionen in neuerer deutscher Literatur und Gegenwartsliteratur, genauso wie zu Lesekonventionen und Gattungsfragen. Der dritte Teil schließt mit einem Beitrag zu Felicitas Hoppe ab. Zudem wird in einem Interview mit der Georg-Büchner-Preisträgerin von 2012, das im Anschluss zu lesen ist, ihr Südafrikabesuch im September 2014 gewürdigt.


The first part, entitled «Writing Africa», is devoted to the focus of this journal. It comprises contributions which analyse the writing of Africa in German literary texts and in cultural memory thereby demonstrating that the African continent has not only been subject to the European imagination since it was colonised, but still holds relevance there today. In the second part of this volume, namely «Language and Translation», contributions investigate the connection between language and translation and between belonging and identity. The third part contains a number of general articles, ranging from analyses of literary texts which were written about the First World War to aspects of cultural and Jewish identity as manifested in literary texts, from (de)constructions of identity in 20th century and contemporary German literature to examining conventions of reading and questions of genre. The third part concludes with an article on Felicitas Hoppe, winner of the Georg-Büchner-prize in 2012, followed by an interview with the author who visited South Africa in September 2014.

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Language Use and Attitudes. How do they contribute to identity-formation?

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Language Use and Attitudes in Namibia

How do they contribute to identity-formation?

HELENE STEIGERTHAL

Universität Bayreuth

Abstract

Since the implementation of English as the sole official language, a number of language attitude and usage studies have been conducted in Namibia. In the 1990s, Pütz revealed positive attitudes towards the English language; Afrikaans L1 speakers, however, mostly preferred their mother tongue, regarding it as more prestigious. All participants typically used English in formal and their home languages in informal situations. My empirical pilot studies (2010, 2013, 2015) showed nearly the same results as the pilot study by Buschfeld and Kautzsch (2014). They added an identity investigation, stating that most participants identify linguistically and culturally with their L1, not with English. The term ‘identity’ and its link to language will be analysed. Then, the contrasting notions of the German-speaking and the Afrikaans-speaking group will be examined. Moreover, the possibility of nation-building in a multilingual society, i.e. “unity in diversity”, and the coexistence of multiple identities will be discussed.

Language is not only a medium of communication, but also a medium of expressing identity (Dirven / Kristiansen 2008:7; Dirven / Polzenhagen 2008:240; Edwards 1985:1; Orman 2008:ix, 29). Usually, one’s mother tongue expresses one’s identity (Dirven / Polzenhagen 2008:241). Accordingly, the loss of one’s mother tongue, i.e. language shift, may weaken one’s sense of culture and lead to the loss of one’s identity (Edwards 1985:...

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