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English in Kenya or Kenyan English?


Natalia Budohoska

The book aims to recognize or reject English in Kenya as a new, emancipated variety of English developing in a multilingual environment of permanent language contact. It discusses in detail the sociolinguistic situation in contemporary Kenya based on Labov’s extra-linguistic parameters and the results of a customized survey carried out by the author in Kenya. Furthermore, it identifies and describes characteristic stylistic, lexical, morphological and syntactic features of English in Kenya on the basis of the International Corpus of English (ICE). The theoretical framework employs Schneider’s Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Englishes and an effort is made to put the amount of variation found in the ICE into a wider context of other varieties of English around the world.
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Chapter one: The history and status of English in Kenya


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Chapter one

The history and status of English in Kenya

1.0. Preliminary remarks

It is hard to estimate how many people in the contemporary world speak English, since already almost 30 years ago Quirk claimed that English has become the language “on which the sun does not set, whose users never sleep” (Quirk 1985: 1). Today, English enjoys the official, semi-official or an even informally special status in over seventy countries worldwide. And if we combine it with the number of speakers who use it as a means of international communication it becomes clear that the non-native speakers form a majority. These statistics alone suggest that English is no longer synonymous with British or American Standard but rather that a number of varieties all over the world are in the process of emerging (Swann 2007: 11).

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