Variational pragmatics, responses to thanks, and the specificity of English in Namibia
In the framework of variational pragmatics, the focus so far has been on L1-varieties of English, and the present paper introduces this area of research into the wider field of World Englishes. It presents first results from a larger questionnaire study on a number of pragmatic variables in Namibian English (NamE), a variety of English that only recently has aroused the interest of a number of researchers because of its unique history and complex variety status. The study employs methods successfully applied in variational pragmatics and describes the realization of responses to thanks in NamE in comparison to three L1-varieties of English. As the paper shows, NamE differs from these varieties in various ways. It argues that these differences, although possibly being more in degree than in kind, nevertheless index local Namibian solutions in the complex linguistic ecology of the speech community. The results of the study furthermore show that some of the results reported for the L1-varieties need to be reconsidered in view of the Namibian data.
Keywords: variational pragmatics, World Englishes, Southern African Englishes, Namibian English, English in Namibia, contrastive linguistics, cross-cultural pragmatics, responses to thanks
Published online: 02 November 2018
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